Though a remotely-controlled telepresence robot on wheels with your face on it may help assert one’s presence in a meeting room on the other side of the world, there’s no denying that the people on the other end doing the whole “interacting” thing with said robot might find it a bit off-putting—creepy, even.
Double Robotics, one of the first companies to develop the earliest iterations of this tech, has come up with the newest iteration of their flagship Double series of telepresence robots.
The Double 3 still works very much like its predecessors but with a couple of new changes:
While both the original Double and Double 2 required a separate iPad to display your face to strangers around the world, the third version now comes with its own screen with two 13-megapixel cameras, a speaker, and six microphones.
The two cameras tilt up and down and allow you to pan, tilt, and zoom in on different areas using the Double web browser or mobile app, while the speaker and microphones make sure you can hear—and be heard—by everyone in the immediate vicinity.
One of the most prominent features has to be the 3D sensors which allow the Double 3 to navigate different types of terrain easily. You won’t be driving the robot up an outdoor slope or through a muddy path; but with the sensors in place, it can identify obstacles in its way (such as heaps of paperwork and co-workers) and determine the safest route to its destination. There’s no word yet how fast the sensors can react to sudden changes in its path, so it would be wise to not to jump in front of the Double 3 while it’s in motion.
The sensors work in tandem with the new Click-to-Drive technology. By clicking any area in front of the robot, you can set a course towards the destination and the Double 3 will make its way there while avoiding any obstacles. To make things easier, the two cameras also highlight important icons with 3D objects, such as driveable areas, objects, and the robot’s charging dock.
The Double 3 will cost $3,999 when it launches this September (or $1,999 to update the Double 2). That said, if you really want to freak your overseas co-workers by following them around with your floating robotic head, no price is too high.
You can check out the full details on the Double 3 on the Double Robotics webpage.