The next wave in telepresence?

The REEM robot from PAL Robotics is a multi-purpose service robot that is a humanoid torso set upon a wheeled base. Certainly one of the most utilitarian designs, a great feature is in the base, which doubles as a carriage for transporting up to 20 kgs of packages or bags while keeping its arms free. It is great to see a humanoid design like the REEM as it really is different than many other robots out there. REEM is making the most of current technology as its wheeled base allows for up to 8 hours or operation. Bi-pedal humanoids are energy hogs and typically have no more than one hour of run time, maybe. With up to 34 degrees of freedom (depending upon options) it has surprising dexterity making it very anthromorphetic. The telepresence capability allows users to make video-calls, and in case you do want to check in, WiFi connectivity allows it to transmit images from both front and rear facing cameras. Autonomous navigation allows it to deliver either both packages and guests it may be assisting, while avoiding obstacles in its path. The chest of REEM is a touch screen computer that allows users more features to interact with it and remember faces for future interactions. REEM is a capable assistant as opposed just a highly functioning telepresence robot. In fact during the recent European Robotics week, held in late 2012, REEM was able to perform duties such as providing information and guiding visitors, all completely unsupervised. REEM's modular design allows for customized features so expect to invest upwards of $40,000 to get one of your own. That’s not a horrible amount considering the tasks that it can perform, helping to augment the role of a caregiver, tour guide, security guard or assistant as compared to a traditional telepresence, the cost becomes less of a factor.

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