You may not have heard of telepresence robots, but a startup called Double Robotics hopes to change that with the second generation of its device.
Telepresence robots represent you from afar, allowing you to roam corridors with co-workers, glide into offices for private chats and continue conversations in the company cafeteria. The Burlingame, California-based company wasn’t the first to the technology, but it did pioneer a less-expensive approach by mounting an Apple iPad tablet atop a stalk with motorized wheels.
A person uses a computer to pilot the robot around a distant location by typing in keyboard controls. They can see what’s in front of the robot by way of images transmitted from the tablet’s camera back to their computer screen. At the same time, their computer’s camera transmits live images of their face to the robot’s tablet so people looking at the tablet can see and talk to them.
Double Robotics launched the new version of its product on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The 35-employee startup hopes that the Double 2’s features will prompt current customers to expand beyond the testing phase and attract new companies too.