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Double Robotics builds 'body' for iPad videoconferencing

A Segway-like kit will bring iPad-based telepresence to offices and elsewhere by year's end for $1,999.

This clothed Double was spotted in the offices of OpenTok. Twitter/TokBox

Communicating with someone's head via FaceTime on an iPad is great, but Double Robotics also wants to give some real-world mobility to that disembodied 2D cranium at a relatively affordable price.

The company has a kit simply called "Double" that consists of a robotic, stripped-down Segway-like contraption with wheels, battery, iPad stand, and holder. Once the iPad is connected to the Double, the robot can be controlled remotely by someone using an app on another iPad, allowing that person to move around their virtual location.

Inevitably, this sort of ambulatory telepresence poses a threat to people's toes and small pets. But at only 15 pounds, Double doesn't seem likely to do to much damage.

Double is hardly a revolutionary product -- we've seen other telepresence robots that make use of an iPad -- but at a price of only $1,999, it seems to be the first one that you might actually run into in an office near you.

The company says the first production run is already sold out and will ship in December. It is still taking orders for another batch to arrive in 2013.

You can see Double in action in the promo video below and let us know in the comments what sort of uses you could see for such a low-cost telepresence robot: education, museums, health care, the apocalypse?