A telepresence robot is a remote-controlled, wheeled device that has wireless internet connectivity. Typically, the robot uses a tablet to provide video and audio capabilities.
TelePresence robots are commonly used to stand in for tour guides, night watchmen, factory inspectors and healthcare consultants. In a distance education class, a telepresence robot can move around the room and interact face-to-face with individual students, just as an on-premises instructor might. In business, a telepresence robot can be used to help an employee whose disability or location prevents him from traveling still have a physical presence in the office.
Here are a few examples of telepresence robots:
- iRobot’s Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant (RP-VITA) is designed for use in hospitals where it makes it possible for doctors to consult with patients, guide staff and confer with other medical practitioners remotely.
- Double Robotics’ Double, which consists of a wheeled base integrated with an iPad, is designed for a business environment to enhance telecommuting or teleconferencing.
- Suitable Technologies’ Beam+ is designed for in-home uses, such as mobile video chat, oversight of children or elderly people and remote security monitoring. The vendor’s Beam Pro product is designed for the workplace.
Although telepresence robots aren’t inexpensive, they are typically much more affordable than the travel costs or fees they might replace.