Anybots, a robotics company is launching QB, a robot that the company describes as “the first professional-quality mobile proxy robot”. Yes, this robot will be representing you while you are video conferencing in that Monday morning meeting, and it let you roam around the office from a remote location.
I test drove the QB for a few minutes, and I have to admit that I was impressed by the relatively low latency (Wifi, over the internet). Two cameras located in the QB’s head help you see where you are going: one looking straight down (to the wheels) and one looking in front of the robot. QB has two wheels, and stays up by using a gyroscope, very much like a Segway does. It is very easy to turn left and right, and the robot can move at a speed of 3.5 mph.
The Gyroscope provides an excellent balance to the robot. It has been designed so that you can literally push it out of the way, the thing just won’t fall. QB has been designed to be used for about 8 hours before the battery needs charging. When that happens, you will have to drive and park it into its dock (Its creators are thinking about an auto-park feature). While, this is a far cry from the movie Surrogates, Anybots is confident that having a physical presence will make enough of a difference to justify the $15,000 price. QB will be available this fall.