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Double Robotics leverages Apple's iPad with Double remote telepresence robot

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
A necessary byproduct of living in the future ? as we do ? appears to be the occasional bit of tech that is simultaneously very cool and remarkably impractical. Normally retailing for $2,500, and requiring the investment of at least another $500 to function, Double Robotics' Double telepresence robot fits squarely into that category. It is pretty fun to watch, though.

Double


The Double is a sleekly designed set of motorized wheels with an extensible iPad stand, sort of like a Segway for your favorite Apple tablet. In theory, a user attaches one iPad to the Double, leaves it wherever they can't/won't/don't want to be in the near future, and ? when it comes time to interact with people remotely ? fires up another iPad to control the robot.

Double Conference


The iPad attached to the Double displays streamed images ? like a user's face ? from the second tablet's front facing camera. Movement is controlled by an accompanying app.

Double Standing


In action, the Double is entertaining to watch, and it appears to be well engineered. The demonstrator would occasionally push the Double to show its ability to maintain balance. It moves and turns quickly, and the variable height of the attached pole ? also controllable by the iPad app ? means you can look people in the eye from a remote location.

Double Face


Here's the thing, though: watching the demonstration over the course of about five minutes, I overheard several people ? either leaving the display or passing by ? say something to the effect of "That's really cool, but what would it be good for?"

Double's webpage for the device says it would be applicable in offices for remote teams, school campuses, manufacturing facilities, and so forth. It also raises the possibility of families using the device "to stay more in touch" and retail stores using it as a mobile kiosk. Considering the two-iPad requirement and the necessity of using one iPad to pilot the device, its utility is up to interpretation.

Double Back


It's also just the slightest bit creepy. There's just something about a face on a screen, gliding toward you on what looks like a Segway.

Still, the Double secured a Best of Show nod at Macworld, and for good reason: it's a well-designed and functional device. It may still be a solution in search of a problem, but it's very fun to watch.
post #2 of 23

Mellow greetings, Lenina Huxley. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDpg580OfC0

post #3 of 23
"Trick or treat."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"Trick or treat."

Yes, there was something like this on a Halloween episode of Southpark.

post #5 of 23
Big band did it first, the shelbot
post #6 of 23
If it were more affordable, my company would have purchased a unit for each of our offices. There isn't a need for them, but it would serve the purpose to explore the other office to see who's around and where instead of interruptive phone calls or having a big brother video system, but really because it'd be neat and a fun way to do so. I don't know how long the novelty would last.
post #7 of 23

We saw this in a video at an Apple keynote, didn't we? That was a while ago, I think. 

 

Cut the price on this to something piddling and I'd get one just for fun.

 

Originally Posted by ssls6 View Post
Big band did it first, the shelbot

 

But Apple inspired its doing far more elegantly.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #8 of 23
I could see a real estate company using one of these to show a house (assuming you could pilot from any ipad (vs. having to be paired).. or even a web interface.

it's no substitue for a physical visit, but you could use it to get an idea of a home/apartment (yes, stairs are a problem) before you decide to go to the open house - plus you could use it outside the open house hours.
post #9 of 23

Welcome!


Originally Posted by Vera Comment View Post
I could see a real estate company using one of these to show a house (assuming you could pilot from any ipad (vs. having to be paired).. or even a web interface.

 

See, there are so many uses for something like this! We saw the museum telepresence one in the Apple video, but there's an entire world of uses. 

 

You can't say that this "wouldn't have been possible without the iPad", but you CAN say that no one even dared to consider it before the iPad existed. I hope to see these in many more places.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

You can't say that this "wouldn't have been possible without the iPad", but you CAN say that no one even dared to consider it before the iPad existed. I hope to see these in many more places.

 

I'm not sure that is true. There have been a number of telepresence robots available for a few years now:

https://www.anybots.com/attack-of-the-telepresence-robots/

 

This seems to be a little cheaper than some, but the concept is pretty much the same (remote controlled robot with a video screen, camera, and mic), just with an iPad.

post #11 of 23
Originally Posted by afrodri View Post
I'm not sure that is true. There have been a number of telepresence robots available for a few years now:

https://www.anybots.com/attack-of-the-telepresence-robots/

 

The only one of those that even approaches the price of this is the one that also requires an iPad to work. The rest is proprietary tech stem to stern, which kicks the price to the $6-16k-per range.

 

The iPad made them affordable and spearheaded bringing mobile teleconferencing out of the executive boardroom.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The only one of those that even approaches the price of this is the one that also requires an iPad to work. The rest is proprietary tech stem to stern, which kicks the price to the $6-16k-per range.

 

The iPad made them affordable and spearheaded bringing mobile teleconferencing out of the executive boardroom.

 

Like I said, this device is cheaper, but the core concept is pretty much the same. People did 'dare to think about this' before the iPad, the iPad just made it cheaper. 

 

 I do hope that this becomes cheaper and more common. If it could cut out some travel for site inspections it could save a lot of money for companies (and travel grief for employees). If it were an order of magnitude or so cheaper, I could see this being fun for personal use (I expect a vast outpouring of 'mobile telepresence units chasing cats' videos).

 

There are some other projects in development which should brings the price down even more:

http://technabob.com/blog/2012/09/19/helios-iphone-telepresence-robot/

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1452620607/botiful-telepresence-robot-for-android

post #13 of 23
I live in San Antonio and am the Chair of a company in Massachusetts that during the summer runs three different summer programs in different places. This kind of mobile presence is Skype on wheels - you figured out how to use Skype right?

The question is, how do I push the elevator buttons?
post #14 of 23

Personal "robots" will catch on when and only when they can either perform sexual acts.  Until then they are a curiosity.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrh View Post

I live in San Antonio and am the Chair of a company in Massachusetts that during the summer runs three different summer programs in different places. This kind of mobile presence is Skype on wheels - you figured out how to use Skype right?

The question is, how do I push the elevator buttons?

You don't find it disrespectful to interact with employees in this way?  

post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post
Personal "robots" will catch on when and only when they can either perform sexual acts.  Until then they are a curiosity.

 

Worked for Blu-ray and VHS. 1rolleyes.gif

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vera Comment View Post

I could see a real estate company using one of these to show a house (assuming you could pilot from any ipad (vs. having to be paired).. or even a web interface.

it's no substitue for a physical visit, but you could use it to get an idea of a home/apartment (yes, stairs are a problem) before you decide to go to the open house - plus you could use it outside the open house hours.
 

That's interesting. Real estate could leave a robot sitting in a locked apartment and let people look around. We would have used it recently (no matter how many photos you take you miss something). 

 

Of course there are complications!

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

You don't find it disrespectful to interact with employees in this way?  

Why? What makes you think that every interaction with executives needs to be in person? Why is this any more disrespectful than Skype - or even a phone call, for that matter.

In fact, it's possible that this would lead to MORE interaction with employees (I've seen Skype do that). Instead of being able to visit a facility once a year (due to time and budget constraints), the executives could stay in touch on a frequent basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vera Comment View Post

I could see a real estate company using one of these to show a house (assuming you could pilot from any ipad (vs. having to be paired).. or even a web interface.

it's no substitue for a physical visit, but you could use it to get an idea of a home/apartment (yes, stairs are a problem) before you decide to go to the open house - plus you could use it outside the open house hours.

I wonder how long before we see it in a movie. I could picture the evil villain who doesn't like human contact sending one of these around to give his henchmen their orders.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrh View Post

I live in San Antonio and am the Chair of a company in Massachusetts that during the summer runs three different summer programs in different places. This kind of mobile presence is Skype on wheels - you figured out how to use Skype right?

The question is, how do I push the elevator buttons?


Why do we need Skype on wheels when everyone has Skype in their pocket or on their desktop PC?

post #20 of 23

I wonder if this infringes on Segway's intellectual property, as it too employs the inverted pendulum control system to remain balanced.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The only one of those that even approaches the price of this is the one that also requires an iPad to work. The rest is proprietary tech stem to stern, which kicks the price to the $6-16k-per range.

 

The iPad made them affordable and spearheaded bringing mobile teleconferencing out of the executive boardroom.

I don't know about that. There have been embedded computers with GUI below $1k well before iPad came along (many based on QNX, interestingly). What they lacked was the suite of apps on the iOS platform. Skype, for example, wasn't available. So what iPad brings is not affordability but rather social functionality, IMO.

post #22 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

You can't say that this "wouldn't have been possible without the iPad", but you CAN say that no one even dared to consider it before the iPad existed. I hope to see these in many more places.

 

Of course, telepresence robots in general have been talked about since at least the early 1980s by NASA for space repairs, and built since at least the early 1990s.  

 

One of the earliest ideas for them was for virtual tourism.  For example, someone in Kansas could rent one in Rome and use it to "walk around".   

 

There were even plans at one time to land rovers on the moon, and let people rent those (shades of Wolowitz  and the Mars rover in TBBT!).

 

One of my favorite telepresence tourism ideas was one that our future planning group came up with around 1995... winged robots so ordinary people far away could "fly" over the Alps or the Amazon or other scenery.   Of course, that's now pretty much what the remote Predator drone pilots do!  And I doubt we were even the first to think of it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post

Personal "robots" will catch on when and only when they can either perform sexual acts.  Until then they are a curiosity.

 

Yep, sex does help drive the price of new technology down.

 

One of the other forecasts we made in our R&D group in the 1990s was that of virtual sex suits.

 

I remember when we had to present our ideas to our new director, who was a woman.  I got to the part where we predicted the rise of teledildonics (which is the actual term for this), and she stopped me to explain the term.   It was interesting, to say the least.   She said she thought it sounded great, but quickly moved the conversation elsewhere.


Edited by KDarling - 2/4/13 at 8:39am
post #23 of 23
Can it carry a cold beer, and follow me around? SOLD!
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