03/08/2012

The Botiful telepresence robot is the new office must have

As Thomas L. Freidman stated in the title of his bestselling book, the world is indeed flat and it is only going to continue to flatten with the invention of newer and more advanced technologies.

It’s almost impossible to imagine what people did before the internet, how people communicated and how business ran efficiently. It’s remarkable really that within only a couple of decades of the world wide web going live we already rely on it for the daily running of our lives.  If you’re anything like me then the internet is VITAL for communication, whether it be on your phone, tablet or laptop. I don’t know how I would survive without instant messaging, social networking and more importantly Skype.botiful

It’s amazing that in a matter of seconds I can be talking to my friends in Mexico or my family in Australia. In fact I think we take this technology for granted and don’t really appreciate the true magic of it. Long gone are the days of letter writing and waiting months for a reply, thank God!

Skype and other similar services such as Facetime are great but what if the person on the other end could interact as though they were actually there?  Telepresence robots are not a new concept but the reality of making one affordable to the general public is.  Hoping to make this concept a reality is California based inventor Claire Delaunay. She has created a tiny telepresence robot which she plans to retail at just $299.

This device named Botiful is a tiny robot which works with Android smart phones and connects using Bluetooth or a cable. Simply place your Android smartphone into the ‘seat’ and it attaches using a magnet. The robot is on wheels allowing the user to move around with you and using a set of controls on their screen the caller can tilt the phone up and down. It can really feel like they are with you! Imagine being able to conduct your business meetings from the comfort of your own office without the stresses and expenses of travelling. Unlike standard video calls you will be able to wheel around and interact with everything going on in the room.

Although the botiful robot is designed to work with Skype it can also be used as a stand-alone device. However, using it with Skype will give the user added features including the directional controls and apps which include facial recognition, which I am guessing will keep the robot’s ‘face’ centred on the person they are talking to.

As the video shows, this device creates a new way for interacting with people far away and the only limitation is our imagination. For business this is sure to be a must have office gadget. It is particularly good for those businesses with employees spread over remote locations. Communication is key for successful and efficient business and sometimes email and phone calls just don’t cut it.

Delaunay is presently raising production funds for Botiful, on Kickstarter. I just hope she can do it so we can all say we own a robot, wouldn’t that be cool?

Eilish

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