Telepresence Robots Are Becoming More Affordable

#Workplace

Thu, Jan 16th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to CNET, Suitable Technologies has unveiled its Beam+ telepresence robots, devices that "roll around, connecting people remotely through the use of video screens and microphones." The robots, which originally had prohibitive costs for the average user, "will start at $1,000 (for the first thousand units) and then will cost $2,000."

For some time, Suitable has been producing the Beam telepresence robot, which costs $15,000 and is aimed at businesses that want to cut down on business travel. But now, the technology has dropped in price by an order of magnitude, and they may now become something average people have at home.

That's the idea, at least. In an interview at CES here last week, Hassan demonstrated the Beam+ and showed how it rolls around easily, and docks itself when needing to recharge. He said the robot is essentially plug-and-play, meaning that just about anyone can get it up and running. "Just connect to wireless," Hassan said, "and you're done."

The robot sports a heavy, wide base on wheels, and a tablet screen atop a tall, narrow neck. Owners control the robot with a mobile or browser-based app, and can easily move it around wherever it is physically located. There, anyone nearby can see the person controlling it on the tablet screen, and can have a two-way video chat. Hassan said it's ideal for everything from helping seniors get through their daily life to a parent on the road playing hide and seek with the kids.

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