Beam+ is Suitable Technologies latest offering to telepresence robots but instead of the usual target audience of business with the office or conference meetings in mind, this one is aimed towards the home. Apart from iRobots automated home cleaning machines, such as the recently announced Scooba 450, this is one of the first commercially available full robotic system.
Revealed last week to the select few, the Beam+ was on display at CES 2014, it shows the standard telepresence robot setup, a camera and a screen mounted atop a long body and granted motion through a two wheel base. Of course it’s limited, in the same way as all of its peers, by the use of stairs, limiting it to a single floor of your house.
How do you feel about having dinner with your family, half way across the world, via a telepresence Robot like Beam+?
It’s controlled remotely via a web interface and sleeps while inactive to reduce power, or while charging in its dock. Strangely the robot doesn’t feature even a simple on/off button, but no doubt it’ll be able to cope with a hard power down as long as you can cope hauling it back to its charger if it runs out of battery during its functioning.
While a home telepresence robot is limited in scope, the first batch of pre-orders come in at a tiny price tag of a measly $995 (US), then when those pre-orders run out it’s still not too expensive at its full price of $1,995 (US). It’ll be interesting to see how early adoption takes hold and more interestingly to see how open these systems are for tinkering. Attaching a few cheap actuators and extra sensors could really make this piece of kit interesting to the hobbiest community, especially at the pre-order price.
Via: IEEE Spectrum