willow garage pr2 robot

Willow Garage’s PR2 Robot

For a while now robots have been cleaning floors, windows, and even gutters. However, there's something better than all of those combined! It's just Willow Garage's PR2 robot and a room. As shown in the video below, PR2's advanced technology allow him to move around the room with ease. Once he finds an object that is out of place, PR2 uses his arms to pick it up and place it where it belongs. I know this seems to good to be true, but its anything but science fiction. However, this robot is not available for the average consumer.

This is because of it's price and it's availability. Aside from that, let me tell you about my blog and how it started. Last year in February, I started the blog and called SimpleBotics. My main goal then was just to show off to people the robots I made. Then a few days later, I realized I needed to start writing about the latest new on robotics. Thus, my blog started to grow. With fans on Facebook and google plus, my site just kept growing and growing, and it still is growing too. Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to TelepresenceRobots.com for giving me the privilege to guest post on there site! By Morgan Andrews

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Our World with Telepresence Robots: Interview with Jason Falconer from Plastic Pals

Telepresence robots are on their way to becoming a norm in our society. People have already discovered how practical and efficient these robots are to communicate with coworkers, professors, students, hospital patients, and even friends. With developers constantly improving the technology and producing new robots, there will surely be an explosion of purchases, and subsequently newfound uses. We decided to get other robotics bloggers’ thoughts on the future of telepresence robots and how they will impact our society.

Our next few posts will feature a series of interviews with various bloggers and editors. Check back with us for the latest interview!

Jason Falconer, editor of PlasticPals, kicks off our series with his predictions and expectations for telepresence robots. As editor of Plastic Pals, Falconer has covered more than 500 robot projects over the past few years. In addition to writing about robots, he has won awards for his conceptual robot designs and has contributed design work to one of the teams applying to DARPA's upcoming humanoid robotics challenge.

SimpleBotics logo

Our World with Telepresence Robots: Interview with Morgan Andrews from SimpleBotics

Today, we’re featuring an interview with Morgan Andrews, founder of SimpleBotics.com. At the young age of 8, Mr. Andrews began experimenting with small circuits. He was then introduced to robots by DK’s book, "Robot." Morgan soon began building his own robots. That book had sparked more than interest alone; it ignited what would become Morgan's career. Mr. Andrews founded SimBotics in 2010, but he altered the name and started the blog, SimpleBotics, in 2011. Not only does the blog discuss robots, but Andrews also demonstrates how to make robots.

Q: How will telepresence robots shape our future?

MA: These robots will make people lives easier. People can use them to communicate from long distances. If you can’t physically be somewhere, at a business meeting for example, you can just send the robot to take your place.

Q: What cultural effects will increased telepresence robot usage cause?

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Our World with Telepresence Robots: Interview with Tom Green from Robotics Business Review

We hope you are enjoying our interview series! Tom Green, Editor-in-Chief of Robotics Business Review, presents a new perspective on telepresence robots in today’s post. Tom Green is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning writer, producer and playwright who uses his print and video expertise to tell stories about science, technology and engineering. In addition to working for various companies as a writer, editor, and producer, he owned and operated his own video production company for ten years where he produced video for corporations, broadcast, and cable TV.

Since 1995, Green has evolved his storytelling skills and video-making experience in tandem with the arrival and growth of the Internet and Web. His most recent book, Bright Boys: The Making of Information Technology 1938-1958 (AK Peters, 2010) was an Amazon best seller and is now in its second printing. Prior to Robotics Business Review, Green was editor, writer and online content developer for the MITRE Corporation; JAZD Markets' online directories; and Merck Millipore.

Q: How do you think telepresence robots will shape our future?

Twitter image for Robot Living

Our World with Telepresence Robots: Interview with Todd Miller from Robot Living

In today’s interview, Todd Miller, creator of Robot Living, discusses the integration of telepresence robots into society and shares an entertaining video of a robot running an errand. Be sure to watch it!  Miller has always loved robots and science fiction. An interest in mechanical things and David Macaulay’s building books, such as Castle, heavily influenced him. When he was learning how to build web pages, Miller’s passion for robots resulted in the 2007 birth of RobotLiving.com. Miller loves robots of all kinds, from the famous R2D2 of Star Wars fame, to the old-fashioned tin robot toys, and he has actually built some small robots himself.

Q: How do you think telepresence robots will shape our future?

TM: For businesses, the robots will reduce the need for travel. If telepresence robots become cheap enough, they could end up in many homes, not just in offices. This would change how you interact with relatives and friends who are far away.

Q: How quickly do you predict telepresence robots to be fully integrated into society?

Image featuring the Vgo, Teleporter, Double 2, and PadBot telepresence robots and the telepresencerobots.com logo.

What is a Telepresence Robot and what can they do?

Simply put, a telepresence robot helps place "you" at a remote location instantly, providing you a virtual presence, or "telepresence."  A telepresence robot is a computer, tablet, or smartphone-controlled robot which includes a video-camera, screen, speakers and microphones so that people interacting with the robot can view and hear its operator and the operator can simultaneously view what the robot is “looking” at and "hearing."  Some robots require a tablet or phone to be attached to the robot, while others include built-in video and audio features.

People from all types of environments are putting telepresence robots into action. School districts, corporate offices, hospitals, medical clinics, business warehouses, and more, are seeking potential benefits which can be gained by taking prudent advantage of the progressions within the field of telepresence robotics. Consequently, telepresence robots themselves are growing in popularity as their potential continues to be explored, developed, and utilized. Robot owners are appreciating the cost savings, time and energy savings, and the enhanced communication and presence which telepresence robots can bring to most any area or location.

Telesar teleexistance robot

Tele-existence robot

The next generation telpresence robots will have capabilities such as arms, autonomy, and now touch. Led by Susumu Tachi at Japan’s Keio University a team of researchers have developed a the world’s first Telexistance Robot, the Telesar V. The Haptic technology, allows users to perceive shapes, thus allowing object manipulation.

The robots hands are sensitive enough to feel the texture of objects such as Lego bricks to the warmth and grasp of a human hand. The user is fitted with gloves and a helmet apparatus that receives all the tactile sensory information including 3D sight and sound, in real-time. The result effectively removes the time and space barrier, allowing a person to perform delicate tasks. One prime example for the capability of this technology, is using this robot for disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear plant or bomb diffusion situations.

Sending in a robot like this, rather than a human to handle the dexterous work gets humans out of harms way. The Telesar V has 17 degrees of freedom in the body, 8 in the head and 7 in the arm joints (which is the same as a human). The hands have 15 degrees of freedom, less than the roughly 30 degrees of freedom a normal human hand, though enough to allow the robot to easily manipulate objects.

Giraff Technologies telepresence robot, the Giraff, pictured interacting with a man.

Giraff Technologies: From Silicon Valley to Sweden

With the majority of telepresence robots primarily targeting the business world, Giraff Technologies has taken a slight pivot since its inception and is focusing exclusively on the health care field. The founder of Giraff Technologies, Stephen Von Rump originally developed the idea in Silicon Valley and had ambitions for taking over the business world with his technology.  However, at the same time, he felt helpless in the ability to take care of his parents thousands of miles away.  The concern for his parents sparked a change in the development of the Giraff.

While the birth of the Giraff telepresence robot originated in Silicon Valley, the company has been transplanted to Västerås, Sweden to be part of the Robotdalen, literally Robot Valley in central Sweden. This has allowed them to take part in several EU initiatives aimed at improving the quality of elderly care. Giraff technologies recently was named the “Most Promising Innovation” by Ambient Assisted Living (AAL), a leading European organization, with aims to create a better quality of life for older adults in Europe.

tele-presence movie

Did you hear the one about the…

Here at TelepresenceRobots.com, we’re not a movie review site, but how can we resist not talking about the recently released film involving out favorite subject, “Robot and Frank.” Set in the not too distant future Frank (played by Frank Langella) receives a caretaker robot from his children, who at this point are unwilling to put him into a nursing home.

Unconvinced that the robot is actually there to help him and imagines a more sinister Hal 9000, he develops a bond with the machine and teaches the Robot skills useful to Frank in his former career. Check out the preview below.

botiful telepresence device

How botiful it is

Having successfully fulfilled their Kickstarter campaign, Botiful is headed for production. Developed by Claire Delaunay Botiful is a Skype based telepresence robot. Though small, this pint size robot gives you some abilities those full-sized one can’t. Need to take a look under the car or chase your cat out from under the furniture, just let Botiful handle the work.

The Skype app allows you to not only drive Botiful around and tilt it’s head, but also includes some fun features like dance movements and quirky cartoon sounds that can add some entertainment to your conversations. This takes emoticons to a whole new level. Botiful is currently available only for Android, but I’m told they are working on an iPhone version. If you missed out on the Kickstarter funding, you can be on the lookout for Botiful to hit the retail market in mid-2013 with an expected price around $299 or more depending upon options. Photos via Kickstarter

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