China’s answer to the double: the PadBot

Recently, another player popped up in the telepresence robotics world. And that offering is the PadBot.

PadBot from ChinaNow, in looking at the product, it has incredible similarities to various other players like vGo and double – a low-cost base and tablet headpiece.

But to create differentiation, PadBot is offering a couple of features that have been seen in other devices:

  1. Tilting Head – similar to the vGo’s camera control, the head allows for the tablet to move up and down
  2. PadBot-featuresExpandable Mount – to allow for various devices with size and OS flexibility
  3. Collision and Cliff Detection – addressing pilot mishaps, the device is to have some form of sensors to detect edges and potential collision with objects
  4. Light-weight – along the lines of the double, the PadBot is estimated to weigh 5 kgs (without tablet)
  5. Fifteen hours running time – according to their estimates, a 15 hour continuous on their light-weight battery
  6. Supports Android and iOS – their communication app reminds us more of Skype than anything, which leads us to wonder how they will grow the userbase

Continue reading

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Suitable’s Beam helps an engineering student via Awabot

Today, Suitable Technologes and Awabot for a nice plug in a story in the FT showing the Suitable Beam assisting an engineering student at the EMLyon Business School‘s Learning Lab.
Simon Charadeau using a Beam
Much like Henry James’ use of the Beam to allow him traveling around the world (see his TED Talk), Simon has found it possible for himself to attend his classes just like students in the past have used the vGo to attend primary school.

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EVALUATION: double from double Robotics

double beauty shotAfter a number of months, we here at Pilot Presence got our hands on an actual double itself and have spent a good amount of time using the device for engaging in what we would call proper proxy presence – being in two locations at once and engaging in work-related conversations instead of pure entertainment.

In our reading of the evals of the other devices by other reporters, we noted that the de facto “use pattern” that is reported on is the first efforts of using the device and their shortcomings. In our case, we have intentionally used the device, knowing full well of the limitations, and working within them.

Our metric for success is not about being a replacement for a person, rather how well does the device allow for a pilot to be effective in interacting with others in a remote location? In our evaluation, we are measuring the following attributes:

  • Video: how well do people see us / we see them?
  • Audio: how well do we hear them / they hear us?
  • Navigation: how easy is it to move around in the office?
  • Physical presence: how comfortable do they feel as we are in the office?
  • Social presence: how comfortable are we in projecting in the office?

Now these metrics are designed around particular use cases – where the main purpose of the device is to provide a proxy for people working with others.  So, our use cases have been:

  • Collaborating with coworkers on a project in a meeting
  • Collaborating with coworkers in a spontaneous fashion (by their desk)
  • Being available via the device for unplanned conversation
  • Being “present” (seen) by coworkers and management as “being there”

By engaging in these activities, we have formulated our opinions on the double and have both pros, cons and suggestions for improvement for the next version – that we assume will be out in the coming months.

Before you begin, lets us identify that we are enthusiasts of all of the telepresence robotic products on the market today and we do have a particular affinity to the Beam Pro due to our earlier involvement with it’s precursor.  Please note that the opinions and feedback on this evaluation is for information purposes only and is designed to educate and enlighten both pilots and purchasers alike.

Continue reading the Pros »

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Slate reviews the Beam and Telepresence robotics

Photo by Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo

Seth Stevenson via Beam telepresence robot.

Into the inbox came the most nuanced article about telepresence robots we have seen in a while. To us, the writer seemed to be listening to our conversations with customers and users of the Beam as well as people who have had incredibly strong both good and bad) reactions to the concept of the telepresence robot.

Seth Stevenson from Slate offers a terrific evaluation and analysis of using a Beam and the pros and cons of the usage. We highly recommend you read both pages of the article.

The Beam Pro Telepresence Robot: How it Works and Why it is Strangely Alluring

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BBC Focus Magazine evaluates the Beam, double and Kubi

BBC Focus articleWe here at Pilot Presence have an affection for people using telepresence devices and, back in March, the BBC contacted us to see if they could borrow a Beam for testing for an article from their monthly science magazine, Focus.

The ensuring article, found on news stands and on their iPad app, evaluates the Beam Pro, the double, the Kubi and the Romo.

We are happy to share a scanned-in version of the article for your viewing (if you do not have access to the iPad app) – simply make a request via the Contact Us page.

In the reporter’s opinion,  the Beam Pro was the best substitute of the above solutions. But while the Beam Pro was “simple to use, reliable and quick” and is “nearly six times the price”, the reporter saw that the double likely “represents what RPDs will look like in the future, with its clever use of gyroscopes to stay upright.”

Continue reading

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Adding Google Ads to the Site

From: Editors of Pilot Presence
To: Our Readership
Re: Ads on the Pilot Presence site

Recently, our editors have been discussing how we are able to cover the costs of maintaining our site. In order to not impact our readership, we have chosen to go with Google Adsense to help our readers.

We are going to test this for a short period and if you, our readers, find the ads to be too distracting or not beneficial, please send us an email. We are reachable via the Contact Us page and would appreciate any feedback to help us understand how we can improve our coverage and (hopefully) generate revenue.

Thanks again for your readership.

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UPDATE: Edward Snowden appears at TED2014 via a Beam!

Simply put, why was Scott Hassan in Vancouver? Because TED2014 was happening there – and, instead of bringing Snowden physically, the Beam offered Snowden a way of connecting via remote presence. And Chris Anderson demonstrated the excellent way of communicating as a remote person incredibly well.

UPDATE: TED puts out the video of Snowden and allows for downloads of the talk.

photo credit @jamesjoaquin
Snowden at TED2014

photo credit @chrisfralic

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Remote Presence Links for March 18, 2014

One of those things when running your own site is that it can get so overwhelming that you can not remember when you are to publish each and every article you find. And recently, while here at InnoRobo 2014, a number of great articles have risen to the top to show others what is happening in the world of remote presence. To wit:
Hassan Beaming in

More to come…

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iRobot announces availability of Ava 500 to “regular” customers

Fresh off a trip to CES (back in January), it looks like iRobot is reacting to market forces and announcing the “availability” of the Ava 500 in time for the Enterprise Connect Conference in Orlando.

We have discussed the Ava 500 a number of times in the past and will have our assessment of the device soon, but for the benefit of iRobot, we are happy to share the announcement video for the Ava 500.

Only thing: availability may be limited since the listing is not on the iRobot site, and according to the press release, only available through select Cisco resellers and/or distributors. And since finding those resellers might take time (we looked for Yorktel and could not find them) — and the process of getting everything signed off for the proper purchase of the device might take anywhere from three to six months, we believe that “delivery” is still two quarters away.

h/t to Engadget

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PilotPresence at MIPIM 25

mipim2014-logo-25-years-338x80-blackThis past week, the team from PilotPresence visited Cannes, France to demonstrate their two Beams and a double at the London Stand with Canary Wharf at MIPIM 25. Due to the generosity of the team at Level39, we were able to show both the concept of piloting from locations in England and the US while allowing the MIPIM visitors to experience “remote presence” in the pantry of Level39.

london-standUnlike a typical tech conference, MIPIM is showing some of the world’s investors and property developers the future building efforts in locations around the world. With the Beam and double, PilotPresence demonstrated the possibility of remote presence to investors and developers around the world. As you can see, the Beam made quite a spectacle.

If you are visiting from MIPIM, feel free to connect with us via our Contact page.

h/t to Susan Freedman @propertyshe

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