The Padbot is a simple, easily navigable robot that uses a tablet as its eyes and ears. Remotely controllable through an app on your smart phone or tablet (but, curiously, not by desktop computer), the robot is easily directed by means of a vertical slider (up means forward, down means reverse) and a horizontal slider allowing you to pivot the robot right or left through a full 360 degrees. You can also adjust the Padbot view up or down by swiping up or down, in addition to also being able to pivot the robot right or left through swipes in those directions.
The Padbot's built-in sensors detect when it is in close proximity to an obstacle and warn you via a graphic showing a miniature Padbot and a red dot marking the approximate location of the obstacle relative to the robot. One nice feature is that you can send the Padbot back to its charger base if the battery is running low; I tapped the phone once to obtain the recharge button, tapped the button, and the Padbot navigated its way back to the charger. Another useful feature is the option to allow automatic answering, great for if the call receiver's hands are literally full, or if the receiver is unfamiliar with touchscreen or computer technology and might have difficulty responding manually.
I have to offer the disclaimer that my own test drive occurred under less than optimal circumstances. I was using an unfamiliar phone with a slow local DSL wireless connection to operate a Padbot in China from the West Coast of the USA, operating the robot in a cramped office space loaded with obstacles. Consequently, I experienced significant latency and had some resulting maneuverability problems and screen lag. Even so, I could get a good sense of the ease of operating the Padbot and was impressed with its smooth movement and simple but pleasing design. I could easily envision the Padbot becoming the general purpose telepresence robot of choice, useful for business teams and families alike.