These days, it’s more important than ever to stay connected.
Luckily, more companies are making it affordable to do so by using telepresence technology.
And that’s where toymaker The Crafty Robot comes in. They recently started a crowdfunding campaign for a DIY cardboard robot that’s used with a smartphone. The homemade “telepresence robot” allows you to visit others without actually being there in person.
So, what actually is it?
It’s called Smartipresence, and it’s an extension of the successful Smartibot kit – which is an intelligence-enabled cardboard robot that the company launched in 2018.
The kit includes a circuit board, monitors, and a battery box. These components allow you to build your own robotic body for your smartphone. From there, video callers can move around your space while you chat with them.
By adding a small motor as part of the new extension kit, the Smartipresense system helps users create their own movable robot from pretty much anything. For example, the team has built one based on a radio-controlled car, a 3D-printed monster truck, a little train that runs on a wooden track, and even a telepresence fake duck.
In a recent interview, Ross Atkin, the designer and engineer behind The Crafty Robot, said: “This design approach has allowed us to very quickly and efficiently create a product, in Smartipresence, that responds to the current situation – whilst also being confident that they won’t just become landfill when things get more back to normal the acute need for them subsides.”
How do you use it?
Users can invite their guests by sending a link to the driving web app. This allows the person on the screen to see what the robot is looking at – then they can drive it from the browser on their phone (or computer).
Once they start driving, their face pops up on the robots’ screen and both people can communicate that way.
It’s only 6 inches tall, and the “pilots” can move forward, backward, turn, and spin around to dance.
Each kit has an access code that gives 10 hours of telepresence call, and additional codes are available for purchase on their website to add time.
So, tell us, would you use a small telepresence robot to connect with others? How do you think these current social climates have shaped the way we communicate tech-wise?
Let us know your thoughts below!
Learn more about the Smartipresence robot on their Kickstarter page.