What Is Your IPAD Had Legs?

10/1/2012 9:35:54 PM

Double robotics canon creation allows users to remotely control a moving robot, seeing i what it sees via the IPAD

One reason that everyone loves the iPad is for its impressive mobile capabilities, which allow users to perform a variety of tasks no matter where they are in the world. In fact, mobile technologies have become so advanced that we now have things like the Apple branded FaceTime, a nifty little program that lets us talk face to face with one another via the iPad's impressive front-facing camera. And although they understood how unique the tool was, I highly doubt Apple realized how revolutionary this FaceTime application would really become.

Description: What is your iPad had legs?

What is your iPad had legs?

FaceTime didn't just allow individuals to see one another face to face; it also helped people to show each other things that could not be easily explained by conventional means. Take for example the college student who just moved into their dorm. Excited, they probably wanted to share their newly designed living habitat with their family and friends. The old way to do this would be to take a bunch of pictures and post them on a social media network or send them through direct email. However, pictures don't do things justice sometimes and a lot of them are required to accurately capture a scene. This is where FaceTime really helps to fill the void. Rather than posting a mass of still photos, the same college student can share their living space with others in real time.

It's helped to revolutionize business too. In a globally dependent business, employees were forced to either fly directly to locations in order to interact with potential partners, or to make potentially difficult decisions. These trips were often required because it's tough to make an important call regarding something that was only described or seen in photos. With the introduction of voice and video communications, these trips became unnecessary. Potential partnerships and discoveries could be made from thousands of miles apart, instantly.

But even this new and amazing technology has some flaws. FaceTime only works when one iOS object communicates with another. And even then, it requires a human touch in order to manipulate the front facing camera to view whatever the user wishes. Whenever you make a FaceTime call to someone, you are at the mercy of whatever they want to show you and it can be frustrating trying to view things for yourself. In order for this technology to be truly revolutionary, it needs a way for one person to control multiple iPads, allowing them to view things remotely from thousands of miles away and see exactly what they need to see.

And now, thanks to an independent company named Double Robotics, FaceTime and other video communications, users will be able to experience the world like never before. Business will run in a more streamlined fashion, and information will be exchanged at an even faster rate.

Who is double robotics?

Double Robotics is a small startup company that was created only a year ago, in 2011. The founding members consist of David Cann, an experienced designer and iOS developer, and Marc DeVidts, an electrical/ embedded systems engineer. The group has been operating out of Mountain View, California, but actually fabricates most of its products and parts from its impressive CNC lab in Miami, Florida. The group's mission statement suggests that they are interested in "building beautiful products with a rich user experience that is seldom found in the field of robotics." Their troupe is nothing short of ambitious either, with their debut project, the iPad-based Telepresence Robot.

Description: Double Robotics

Double Robotics

What is the iPad-based telepresence robot?

Even though it sounds silly, imagine for a moment that your iPad had legs. Imagine that it could move, much like a remote controlled car, and that you could freely send it to a variety of different locations. Under this application and in conjunction with FaceTime, you could easily view anything you ever wanted to instantly from the comfort of your own home. Now imagine that this idea isn't just a silly notion, but instead is a legitimate reality, made possible by Double Robotic's iPad-based Telepresence Robot.

The company's sleek and innovative design makes for an incredibly light "robotic" that still has enough power and substance to make a solid remote controlled peripheral. Their flagship robot looks incredibly simplistic on the outside, consisting only of an iPad shaped holder, a tubular metal shaft, and a decent sized housing connected to two large wheels. The design is rigid enough to feel like a well-made product, but still only tips the scales at an astonishingly light 15 pounds (that includes the weight of the iPad too). It’s important to understand though that this is definitely not a rugged terrain and off-road type of robotic. With slim streamlined wheels that are flush with the ground, this is the type of peripheral that is probably best-used in-doors or in outside situations where the ground is level and paved.

The technology under the hood is probably better left explained by someone with a degree in engineering, but the basics will allow you to remotely control Double Robotic is creation by way of a specialized application that can be downloaded to your iPad. This application has a very user friendly interface and in no time you'll be driving the iPad-based Telepresence Robot around like it's second nature. The application will allow you to telescope the holder up and down, and side to side, letting you get every possible angle in a given situation.

This technology even has the ability to zoom in, sometimes close enough to read type on a computer or documents positioned on a desktop. And thanks to the high-definition retina display on the new iPad HD, you'll see things in a crystal clear fashion. But thankfully, for those of you who don't have an iPad HD yet, the iPad-based Telepresence Robot also supports the iPad 2 (although it doesn't support the original model iPad, since it doesn't have a camera feature).

You'll get eight total hours of viewing time, once the battery is fully charged. And it only takes around two hours for that charge to complete. This means you'll be completely mobile for a full workday, which is a vast amount of time considering that technology behind the device.

What can the iPad-based telepresence robot do?

Don't go thinking that all of this technology is just another remote controlled toy. Double Robotic's invention has the capacity to fit perfectly into a wide variety of applications and practices. Let's revisit the common global businessman. Imagine how much money and time he or she spends each year on travel. All of the hours, they are forced to endure away from their family and friends in order to make a sales pitch or to scout out a potential location. For some, it's a very exciting lifestyle, but for most, their business trips come as nothing more than a headache. Those headaches and unnecessary trips could all be eliminated with the iPad-based Telepresence Robot. It would allow business related minds to scout out a variety of locales and give presentations to anyone, anywhere, instantly with the push of a button.

Description: The iPad-based telepresence robot

The iPad-based telepresence robot

What about the potentially lifesaving aspects of having one or more of these devices in a hospital? Doctors who could not make it to the hospital would be able to view files, records, or patients themselves from wherever they are. They would be able to recognize symptoms and have nurses provide treatment thanks to the visual and voice capabilities of the iPad and could inturn save the life of someone who would otherwise not receive treatment when a doctor is unavailable to make a physical appearance at the hospital.

It isn't just about having your own personal device either. There is also a great potential for established businesses to make money with this device. Imagine for a moment all of the places you have ever wanted to visit or see. Perhaps an art museum has topped your list? What about going to view works at the Louvre? Unless you have a pretty hefty retirement plan, chances are you won't be taking any trips to France anytime soon, but with Double Robotic's creation in conjunction with Louvre officials, perhaps you could rent a robot to let you view some of the attractions you would otherwise be unable to see. This could work on all facets of viewership and could help us see parts of the world we have only ever dreamed of, although without the vast expense. Of course, there is nothing like being there but this moving robot offers you literally the next best thing.

Description: Motorized height

Motorized height

The possibilities for this technology are endless and you can be sure that it's only going to get bigger and better as time goes on. For now though, Double Robotic's has succeeded in taking the concept of face-to-face communication and turned it into something more than just a stationary camera. They have given birth to something TRULY mobile and soon thousands of individuals will be literally rolling around and in some instances living their lives vicariously through these machines, doing things that they would otherwise be incapable of. If you really want something that tugs at your heartstrings, imagine the solider who cannot be at home, but could essentially take a walk with their children or watch them play. There is no such thing as "I can't see off camera" anymore. We are talking about a 360-degree view that rivals that of the traditional virtual reality experience.

Getting your own iPad-based telepresence robot

One thing has always been true about consumer technology breakthroughs: whenever a brand new idea hits the shelves, it's generally never cheap. This same practice is true for Double Robotic's creation. The iPad-based Telepresence Robot will set you back a pretty penny. In fact, it will end up costing you around $2500.00 USD per unit ($1999.99 USD right now on special if your pre-order it). It's important to understand too that this doesn't include the iPad device.

You'll have to have one of those too. And if you plan on remotely viewing, then you'll end up having to purchase two ipads, one for the device and one for yourself to view through.

It may also be a challenge to get your robot wherever you want it to be. You'll have to have someone you trust to keep it nearby, and I'm sure, for now at least, you'll have to have someone who can plug the device back in to let it charge. Perhaps Double Robotics will be rolling out a charger mat though, in the future. One you can simply drive up onto and park to let it recharge its battery.

One thing is certain though. This is a great leap forward for both consumer technology and the world of robotics. I really feel like Double has struck gold here and their creation will probably become the stepping-stone for more ambitious endeavors like it. There is no word yet on exactly when this unit will release to the public (it's currently set at sometime early 2013), but you can get yours on pre-order today from Double Robotic's website.

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