Beam+ remote presence system aims for home entry

Jan 16, 2014 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) —What an idea: remote presence machines that roll around from office to office and on trade show floors, helping professionals save on travel but, even though not with the group, still able to maintain a close-up presence anyway. That was the benefit, allowing technology to give people the closest experience to actually being there, behind Beam for professional use. Now there is a remote presence system that is being promoted as a family-ready product designed to help relatives away from home to keep contact with family members at home. The Beam+ is launching in limited quantity for $995. After the first thousand units are gone, the price will be set to its normal level of $1995.The first-thousand units will start shipping in the summer. The company behind the Beam+ is Palo Alto, California-based Suitable Technologies.

Now introducing a Beam+ suited for home use, the company is turning to a product for at-home scenarios where —a spouse, a grandparent or any other contact——can call in remotely, with their faces displayed on the screen, more "there" than during a standard video call. This time the caller gets to move around, motoring across a room or rooms, for face to face interaction with the people and their immediate surroundings at home.

The company team's explanation of what first led them to the Beam concept: "Despite the variety of existing technologies like email, chat, and videoconferencing, we found that our remote team members felt isolated, things got lost in translation, and calling multiple meetings for daily work was disruptive. Then it hit us: What if our distributed team could just be together?"

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

A computer and a Wi-Fi connection are the starting points in working with Beam. The new Beam+ device rolls around easily, with its base on wheels, and the 10-inch LCD flat-panel screen is positioned on top of the neck. A promotional video shows a machine with a grandmother's face praising the grandchildren's art work. Another scenario shows a machine rolling into the children's bedroom where the away-from-home father on the screen says goodnight to his children. Still another shows on the screen a husband at the office checking in, and reassuring his wife at home that he will call an electrician after she tells him the dryer does not work.

The features of the Beam+ include two 640x480 HDR cameras, with 30 frames-per-second video. The software works with computers with Windows 7, Windows 8 or Mac OSX 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, and 10.9. A battery provides two hours of call time and takes four hours to charge.

Company CEO Scott Hassan, the company's CEO, before Suitable, founded the robotics company Willow Garage.

Explore further: Tech gifts for the geek who already has everything

More information: www.suitabletech.com/

Related Stories

Recommended for you

GoGlove wearable aims to control life's soundtracks

3 hours ago

Technology creatives are seeing the key attraction in wearables as being in solutions that save the user from fumbling around with the phone to make app adjustments or changes, or from repeatedly taking it ...

Amazon cuts Fire phone price to ignite sales

3 hours ago

Amazon on Wednesday slashed the price of Fire mobile phones that stalled after launch early this year, becoming a drag on the US online retail titan's bottom line.

Tech review: Another year, another iPad

Nov 25, 2014

Some years, Apple introduces a new version of a product and the world rejoices. Other years, the updates are more under the hood, but they still sell a ton.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.