It looks like a cross between a Segway and Wall-E, but a new "telepresence" robot being unveiled Tuesday is designed to help companies save money on travel and expensive teleconferencing technology.
Currently known as the "QB," the $15,000 robot from Mountain View, Calif.-based Anybots, is designed for people in remote offices or locations who want a rich communications experience without having to use a complicated video conference system.
QB, which is slated to go on sale this fall, has both a video camera and a video screen embedded in its "head." It has wheels and can be moved around remotely by computer. It is designed to be able to steer its way clear of obstacles or people. As long as both the robot and the person controlling it both have access to Wi-Fi, QB should work for just about anyone.
According to Anybots COO Bob Christopher, the idea for QB came from new theories about interactions between people and robots. The hope, said Christopher, who previously was CEO of Pleo maker Ugobe, is that QB will engender a "more humanistic approach" to the relationship between humans and machine. … Read more