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Double Telepresence – Your Double is Here

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If you’re a telecommuter, then there’s probably been a time or two when you wished you could physically go around the office and talk to people directly. If you’ve ever wanted to be in two places at once, then you’ll be interested to know that there’s this new robot that allows you to do just that.

Double Telepresence
The Double is being manufactured by Double Robotics which has dubbed the robot “the ultimate tool for telecommuting.” The firm calls this method of communication double telepresence. It allows you to be “physically” present in a certain place even if you’re not there. The technology is quite simple: it’s essentially a wheeled stand (it looks like a Segway) that holds an iPad, which you can drive remotely. Voila! You can now remotely roam around your office.


The Nuts and Bolts

The robot can be controlled from anywhere using a computer. If you will be using an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, it is required that your device be loaded with iOS 7. The Double works with an accompanying app that lets you manoeuvre it and you can download it from the AppStore or Google Play.

When you purchase the Double, apart from the robot’s main body, you will receive a wide angle lens to be attached to the iPad. Optional accessories include a charging dock and an audio kit with an amplified speaker and a directional microphone. The Double’s rechargeable battery pack can last up to 8-10 hours on a full charge and charging takes about two hours.

The main body is a very stable self-balancing wheel with an extending pole on which you attach your iPad. It has an adjustable height of up to 60″ (150 cm) when standing and 47″ (119 cm) when sitting and also has kickstands that let you anchor the Double when you need it to stay put. As for security, the Double’s audio and video is protected with end-to-end encryption.

At the moment, Double has a retail price of $2,499 – this comes with the robot’s driver apps, an ongoing subscription that allows for unlimited calling, an AC Adapter and one year warranty.

If you would like to know more about the “Double,” you can visit their website at www.doublerobotics.com.

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23 Comments
  1. I’m… actually surprised this sort of technology is just now coming into existence? It really seems like something so trivial, it should have been around years ago. It’s clearly a useful thing to have. Though one could ponder the downsides. Goodness knows people act differently when there is a screen in front of them, and not an actual person.

  2. As often as things like this show up in hollywood, the earliest example I can really think of being the walking hologram in Star Wars Episode 1, I kind of expected this to already be a thing. I know they have the screens at a conference table already. I don’t see much use for this though from your average employee. Someone is going to have to be in the office to unplug the unit from its charging station as well as make sure it gets plugged back in, make sure the tablet is on and functioning correctly…

    This seems like it would only really be practical for upper management.

  3. Like ockham said, it really feels like something tat should have been around before. It wonders me that we had a spread of 3D printing before this came by… It is pretty fun to have, I’d guess, but not quite the same as being in two places at once. You can only divide your attention so much! And I wonder how the thing is good at capturing sound and image over what radius. Look forward to hear more about this developing technology!

  4. Wow, well okay… I wouldn’t step in my front porch with one of these if you want to keep it. That’s really good technology, how long will it be until that will actually be a robot with arms and legs with your face on it, amazing. I’ve been looking at some videos and it actually looks really strange, but I think that’s just because people are not used to it.

    • If you’re excited about the future of this type of technology and robotics in general, you’ll probably enjoy the movie “Surrogates”. It’s a science-fiction look in to a world where this type of technology is commonplace and allows people to live their lives in a robot body.

    • The problem I see with this technology is that it favors a sedentary lifestyle. Yes, it solves the problem of tele-presence, but with the possibility of a detriment for the people who take this part of daily activity out of their lives; they may easily become more sedentary over time since it is an easier path than engaging in the effort to exercise at home, not to mention the diet.

  5. I guess I don’t see the point in needing to roam around as a connected presence. Generally, if you’re working from home, you don’t really need to have a presence in the office. Video teleconferencing is becoming accepted, if not standard in many workplaces. And I would honestly have a lower opinion of upper management who used technology like this, as opposed to breaking away from their golf game to come in to work! As another used pointed out, who is responsible for the maintenance? What if the docking station doesn’t connect, or the screen is skewed, or the camera malfunctions? Frankly, in most cases, I can only envision Sheldon Cooper and his Shel-Bot, fanboy-ing over Steve Wozniak.

    Now, if this were to be marketed towards the disabled… not for every disability, but for quadriplegics, or the like? I could see it as a way for them to have an office presence. Again, though, in the age of telecommunication, it’s not really necessary.

    • I know what you mean – this type of technology seems to be somewhat superfluous to actual productivity. It’s a neat technology that will certainly have its niche uses, but by and large telecommuting is a way for companies to reduce employee footprint in both office costs and overall budget.

      This type of technology seems to be the exact opposite of those policies and as such will probably see minimal adoption outside of those niche cases.

  6. Seems like a pretty novel idea but I really wonder if there is a positive impact in productivity and company culture with this kind of technology.

    This reminds me of the movie Surrogates, in which people inhabit proxy robotic bodies to go about their day to day lives. It’s a bit of a far fetched look at the possible outcome of this type of technology, but I think it does introduce some interesting implications to interpersonal communication.

    • It wouldn’t make me more productive, I know I would be looking over my shoulder all the time to see if the boss was silently wheeling himself up behind me. Of course I’m not the most productive of people anyways.

  7. So really, it’s just a wheeled iPad tripod? All credit to the makers, it is a simple and useful idea, but it’s really no different to videoconferencing or even just making a Skype call. At $2,499 though, this device seems prohibitively expensive and offers little advantages.

  8. So basically like the episode of South Park.

    Anyway I would worry that people would just steal this thing and you’d be out $2500 or whatever. I suppose it’s a good business model for that company though, people would have to replace them. Would you get specific insurance for these?

    So many questions that I must contemplate.

    • I’ll be honest, this reminded me a lot of the South park episode. Though it also reminds me of that movie Surrogates. We’re just moving closer and closer to replacing the human workforce with proxy robots. I can already control my work computer at home via remote access, all my calls from work get redirected to my Cell… Unless I am meeting a client there is literally no reason for me to go into the office.

  9. I heard Edward Snowden uses something similar to this. I can see how this technology can be useful for his situation. It can be useful for business applications, such a monitoring multiple business locations or it can be used for security and monitoring. You can actually use it for a ton of applications of you use your imagination. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of this kind of robotics.

  10. Quite expensive, but a very interesting concept. This would be very useful for people who do not have the capability to move around themselves, so they can use this robot to move around for them, for example in classes. The experience is not very immersive, but I imagine that this is not the purpose of this version. I imagine that robots like these will grow from an idea in the near future.

  11. I always thought stuff like that looked (and is) silly, but I guess I’m the only one since there are millions thrown on similar projects each and every year. From my point of view, “telepresence” can’t be achieved by some kind of typical monitor-on-wheels, and if someone is just sitting at his desk, remote controlling such a… well… “droid”… I dunno, it just feels off.

    Now if we were ever able to combine a TRUE robotic avatar, like some kind of futuristic Terminator thingie, through a virtual reality interface, so that both ends of a “telepresence meeting” would “feel more real”, then we’d be talking about something worthwhile.

    Until then, we’re stuck with monitors-on-wheels.

  12. I’m not too impressed with this. Like others have said, it seems very basic, and I can’t believe this would cost $2,500. I also don’t see the point in your face being able to walk around the workplace. Wouldn’t it just be easier to hold a meeting, and put a FaceTime call on a projector so that everyone could see it?
    I definitely wouldn’t use this in any college classes either, lol. Too many thieves.

  13. I think for now it’s more of just a novel luxury item with limited application (the price point being the most hilarious thing), but in a few years when the technology is way more advanced the applications will be more integrated into the workplace.

  14. It’s promising, but pretty expensive at that price. It will surely help bosses have an eye on their employees while they are engaged in their own work. I think the user would require heavy multitasking abilities to use it effectively, though.

  15. As creative as this is, I don’t think I could take a meeting seriously if there was a s Segway with an iPad wandering around the room. I do think it would be an interesting novelty to employ around the office every now and then just to break up the routine.

  16. Hahahaha! I’ve been seeing a lot TV shows mocking this innovation, I thought it was just some kind of joke. I’m amazed to find out it actually exists and is being sold and used by actual people. So far I haven’t seen one in use face to face, but who knows, maybe this technology will become popular after a while? After all I have already seen it in several TV shows 😉

  17. It can be great but I think what’s needed to make people feel that you are actually in two places at one time is futuristic hologram technology.

    If we have that if you are talking to people in one place, the others seeing your hologram will think it’s you. It’s something I’m sure we’ll have before too long. Someone actually used that technology to address a dozen rallies in 2014.

  18. Oh… it may be useful for some people but I don’t really see the need to actually “walk” around some places while you’re having a FaceTime with someone, I think it would be more practical to have a webcam conference (in cases that this person really can’t be there) and that’s it. They don’t need to spend that amount of money in some type or robot thing… but who knows, maybe technology will allow us to be in more than one place on a more practical way, I’m looking up for that.

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