Forget the telecommute - now you can 'robocommute' (w/ Video)

May 19, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Anybots QB robot. Laser shoots from the right eye.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Anybots, a Silicon Valley start-up company, has developed a telepresence robot called QB, which is a mobile device that can represent you in your next meeting at the office if you are unable to make it, or which can give a company a virtual presence in a remote location. It is in essence a teleconferencing system on wheels.

The mobile ’s height is variable up to around 1.75 meters and it weighs 16 kilograms. It includes a main computer with Intel Core 2 Duo CPI and Internet connections, several mini-computers, and some self-awareness and autonomy is built-in. The robot is self-balancing and moves around on two aluminum and rubber wheels, reaching human walking speed. The main computer runs a free BSD operating system to drive QB’s motors. The system is controlled remotely by a Firefox browser and simple keyboard commands.

QB “sees” via a five-megapixel video camera in one eye, and a lower resolution camera on the head pointing downwards, and transmits the video feeds to its remote controller via the Internet. Another camera monitors what is at QB’s feet. The robot “hears” via three microphones that feed audio to the telecommuter, and has high-quality speakers for audio in the other direction. The robot feeds an image of the telecommuter to the people in the remote location via a 320 x 240 LCD screen mounted on its head, and the screen doubles as a control panel to enable the Wi-Fi connection. The second eye functions as a .

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QB is controlled remotely, but an in-built laser guidance system ensures it does not bump into the furniture or door frames. Chief executive officer of Anybots, Trevor Blackwell, explained the point was to make it as simple to control as a character in Second Life or video game.

QB runs for up to eight hours on a full charge and will automatically return to its charging base if the lithium battery pack runs low.

The QB robot is expected to be useful for businesses with employees who telecommute, and for companies manufacturing products overseas and wanting a remote presence that can, for example, travel along production lines talking to the staff.

Anybots QB.

QB is expected to be commercially available later this year, and will retail for about $15,000 per unit. This may seem expensive, but according chief operating officer Bob Christopher, some companies will probably buy multiple units because they will save on air travel costs or even costlier enterprise-class conferencing systems. The robot also has the advantage of allowing a telepresence in conversations outside the conference room. As long as a Wi-Fi connection is available, no extra hardware is required.

Public demonstration robots will soon be available via Anybot’s website.

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10 comments

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drel
not rated yet May 19, 2010
or for under $150 on Amazon you could get a Rovio.
http://www.wowwee...io/rovio

mrlewish
1 / 5 (1) May 19, 2010
I don't think so. This is deeply offensive to those who have to come to work. Thing might have an accident.
in7x
not rated yet May 19, 2010
The beginning of surrogates.

It needs a way to interact with the environment.

Also, wheels means it can't handle stairs or other uneven terrain.
Yevgen
5 / 5 (2) May 19, 2010
Next step is to great a google-maps connected world-wide system of rental centers for these things, so that you can "walk out" with this thing preaty much at any place of interest on earth. Just put on virtual
reality helmet and click on a "virtual teleport" enabled
spot on the google-map.
Initially such rental places could be located close to tourist attractions.
HealingMindN
not rated yet May 19, 2010
How can I get a holographic rep of myself? I really don't want this segway bot rep'g me at my next important business meeting - unless I'm negotiating with other segway bots.

Imagine if everyone sends their segway bot to work - then we have robot wars where the only way to advance in the company is disable your co-workers. I'm attaching a liquid N blaster on mine with a sledge hammer follow up...
LanaS
not rated yet May 20, 2010
I LOVE it!! Can you teach QB to fly to avoid air travel costs? I can see endless possibilities with this Qtie.. I meant QB :)
Great work!
jwalkeriii
not rated yet May 20, 2010
Watch the low cost solution video:
http://www.youtub...;index=0
powerup1
1 / 5 (2) May 25, 2010
@yevgen...say someone in the U.S. rented one of these things in France and caused some there to have an accident, how would you address the liability issues?
danman5000
not rated yet May 26, 2010
How can I get a holographic rep of myself? I really don't want this segway bot rep'g me at my next important business meeting - unless I'm negotiating with other segway bots.

Imagine if everyone sends their segway bot to work - then we have robot wars where the only way to advance in the company is disable your co-workers. I'm attaching a liquid N blaster on mine with a sledge hammer follow up...

Hey it already shoots lasers out of its eyes, so that wouldn't be too much of a stretch! It'd be like a combination of The Office and BattleBots.
ralph_wiggum
not rated yet Jun 07, 2010
That's just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.

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