If you've ever felt like a mindless drone at work, as if you're controlled by some remote corporate power, like a robot could take your place, then guess what? You're right. QB, developed by telerobotics company Anybots, is the ultimate working from home tool, and it's here to take your place in the meeting room, in the lab and at the watercooler.
QB is a robot that takes your place in the office, while you control it from home. It frees long-distance colleagues from the shackles of the conference call, gliding effortlessly around meeting room, factory floor, cheeky lunchtime pub session and team-bonding paintball excursion. A 5-megapixel camera lets you navigate using a normal Web browser and arrow keys.
QB pootles around at 3.5mph, with a LIDAR guidance system that dodges around furniture and tackles doors. It retreats into a corner when you pop off for a coffee or some Jeremy Kyle, and recharges in a docking station. Battery life is 6-8 hours.
A 3.7-inch video screen, mic and speaker let you chat live to colleagues, or you can show a still if you haven't bothered to shave. Anybots can customise each robot to match the personality of the user -- we'd like to see what QB looks like in a selection of wigs, novelty ties, and carrying a 'World's Best Boss' mug. Let us know in the comments how you'd customise your QB -- ours would turn up ten minutes late to every meeting, wearing yesterday's clothes and reeking of booze.
All you need to interface with QB is an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection. You can switch between different QBs at different sites to keep up with what's going on across the business, from the comfort of sofa, beach or bordello. Visitors can be given tours of your workplace by sending them a special URL to jump into your QB.
Unless you commute from Mars, it'll be a while before QB offsets the savings in not having to travel to the office: when it arrives later this year, QB will cost a whopping £10,500. Features currently in beta include an iPhone app, looking around and zooming, and the ability to pilfer stationery.