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Beam robot adds a physical presence to teleconferencing

Ever want to be two places at once but standard videoconferencing technologies just aren’t creepy enough for you? Well, if you’ve got $16000 to burn and a desire to be a disembodied head attached to wheels, the newly announced Beam Remote Presence Robot might be right up your alley. Beyond the catchy name, the system features three major components: the robotic device, specialized software, and a docking station. Basically, while teleconferencing, the software will give you the views and controls you need to move the Beam robot around a remote location. The docking station is perhaps the most best feature of the Beam robot–hauling around a 5-foot robot weighing 95 pounds takes enough energy to sap even the beefiest batteries, so it’s great that the Beam robot gets 8 hours of use on a charge. Also, the 17-inch screen shows the operator’s face life-sized, unless you’ve got a super-huge face. There’ve been telepresence robots before, and this one is a bit pricy, but if you’ve got a need to be somewhere remotely, it’s probably a better solution than strapping a laptop running Skype to a Roomba.

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