iRobot Debuts Telepresence Robot, The Virtual Office Flourishes

iRobot Connectr

Though you may mistake the image above to be that of a bedpan of the future, it is in fact a telepresence robot from the consumer robotics company, . It is called the “,” and described by iRobot as a “virtual visiting robot.” Not long ago we investigated the homegrown telepresence robot IvanAnywhere, and the potential for that technology in the workplace. IvanAnywhere was created in a garage, so to speak, by inspired and creative tinkerers. iRobot now takes the concept of telepresence to an entirely new level, by mass producing the technology, and making it incredibly accessible. This is completely in alignment with their mission of creating the “robot home,” but I think that is an incredibly limiting way to review this technology as a device such as ConnectR has potential in a diversity of non-home applications. ConnectR allows for a virtual presence by enabling control of the robot via WiFi. It utilizes live video and audio with the built in camera that can zoom into a high resolution mode for reading text. Remarkable. You can also communicate and speak to your audience through ConnectR, and even display your mood by controlling an LED light.

All of that may sound unimpressive, but it is actually quite amazing. You will be able to purchase a telepresence robot (it launches in 2008) off the shelf of your local robot store and then be in two places at once. I am excited to see creative uses of this technology in the workplace, and guarantee that we will see a proliferation of telecommuters now leveraging telepresence. When ConnectR launches next year it is expected to sell for $499. There are innumerable times that I have dreamed of this technology.

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One Response to “iRobot Debuts Telepresence Robot, The Virtual Office Flourishes”

  1. schneiderism Says:

    [...] have posted about telepresence and the workplace a few times before, but this is a military application that is incredibly interesting. The [...]

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