Telepresence robot smackdown!
Let's examine how the key features and specs of these five telepresence robots compare. While they each have a number of unique features and characteristics, I've summarized the main specs of all these telepresence robots in the table below. As you'll see, there's quite a range in pricing.
|MantaroBot "TeleMe"||VGo Communications "VGo"||Anybots "QB"||Suitable Tech "Beam"||Revolve Robotics "Kubi"|
|Height||60 in.||48 in.||34 or 74 in.||62 in.||16 in.|
|Weight||20 lbs||18 or 22 lbs (depends on battery)||35 lbs||95 lbs||3 lbs|
|Motion type||tilt/swivel; locomotion||tilt/swivel; locomotion||tilt/swivel; locomotion||tilt/swivel; locomotion||tilt/swivel|
|Wheels||2 active, 1 passive||2 active, 2 passive||2||2 active, 3 passive||n/a|
|Max speed||2 ft/sec||2.5 ft/sec||5 ft/sec||5 ft/sec||n/a|
|Battery capacity||6 or 8.5 hrs (battery dependent)||6 or 12 hrs (battery dependent)||6-8 hrs||8 hrs||4 hrs|
|Display||depends on tablet||6-inch diag LCD||3.7-inch diag LCD||17-inch diag LCD||depends on tablet|
|Cameras||1 (via tablet)||1||2||2 wide-angle HD||1 (via tablet)|
|Microphones||1 (via tablet)||4||3||6||1 (via tablet)|
|Wireless||WiFi||WiFi; 4G (option)||Wifi||2 dual-band 2.5/5GHz radios||Bluetooth + WiFi or cellular (depends on tablet)|
|First shipments||Q3 2012||Q4 2011||Q1 2011||Q4 2012||Q2 2013|
Telepresence video demonstrations
The videos below breathe a little more life into the concept of telepresence robots.
The bottom line
Slowly but steadily, mobile telepresence robots are insinuating themselves into our work environments, especially in situations where they provide services that would not otherwise be available. For example, some of their first successes are in hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care.
Whether the ability to meander through a remote location is necessary, or even practical, depends a lot on the facility's layout. Are there doors that must be opened? Stairs to climb? Multiple buildings to move between? And then there's the need to recharge before running out of power and going into a shut-down mode.
Let's just hope they don't get too smart, and decide to take over!
More information about the products discussed above are available from the companies' websites, as listed below: