iPad telepresence robots is not something that’s necessarily new--a year ago, someone waited in line for Apple’s WWDC from the comfort of their own home, thanks to a tablet on wheels. The technology is improving, though, as Double Robotics demonstrates with its new robotic offering.
Double is essentially an iPad app combined up with a robotic stand on a set of wheels. It’s meant for use in work or school environments, so even if you can’t make it to a conference or class in person, you'll be able to at least attend virtually. It could also be useful in long distance relationships, or even in galleries and museums.
Once you place your iPad onto the lightweight stand, start up the Double app to begin exploring. You will have a choice of places to visit, depending where you last placed the robot. Tapping the location instantly starts a video chat, so you can browse and talk as though you were in the room.
You control the Double robot from the same app you set up video connection with, using smooth swipes left or right to turn, or to adjust the height, or park up. Thanks to the 10-inch wheel design and a little help from an accelerometer and gyroscope, the robot can keep itself balanced too.
The app works on any iOS device with a webcam, and you can control it through any Web browser, so you won’t need two iPads to control the machine. Of course, it doesn’t quite come cheap--the whole package will set you back $2,000. The battery lasts about 8 hours, so you won't be able to use it to avoid any and all direct social interaction. Sorry.
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