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Turn Your Phone or Tablet Into a Telepresence Robot with MantaroBot TeleMe

December 16, 2011 | David S. Maldow, Esq.
mantarobot_with_logo.jpgLast October, Telepresence Options test drove the then current version of the MantaroBot and was pleased with what we saw. The low-cost solution leveraged Skype to provide a videoconferencing connection while using a lightweight application to remotely control the bot. Today, the folks at Mantaro have released an updated version of their robot, dubbed the MantaroBot TeleMe.


mantarobot_with_specs.jpgThe new design is a significant improvement both in terms of appearance and functionality. The bot has maintained its sleek clean aesthetic, while slimming down as much as possible. The previously waist high stand now appears to be little more than ankle height. This not only makes the design inherently more stable, it makes it feel less intrusive. It isn't taking up a lot of space in the meeting room, so users should feel comfortable driving right up to the meeting table.

The bot requires a user provided phone or tablet for the audio and video. It currently supports the iPad2, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the iPhone 4/4s. Obviously, the tablet will provide a better face to face experience, but don't underestimate the quality of videoconferencing on the iPhone. Custom holders are available for all supported devices and the remote user can tilt the device to look up or down. We also appreciate the ability to lower the mast to 3 feet, effectively letting remote participants have a seat at the meeting table.

mantarobot_teleme.jpg

Mantaro believes the TeleMe robot is particularly well suited for the following use cases:

  • Hold a video teleconference in any location, not just in a conference room
  • Interact with business associates and move around in their environment
  • Allows virtual attendance to events such as meetings or gatherings
  • Tour engineering labs or factory floors
  • Hold impromptu meetings to discuss current issues on factory floors or in engineering labs
  • Attend meetings while working from home
  • Visit remote offices for team or one-on-one meetings

The MantaroBot TeleMe only costs $1,500. That isn't a typo. Even with the additional cost of a tablet or phone, this pricing puts telepresence robotics within the reach of small firms which are looking for that edge to give their teams the flexibility and connectivity they need to improve their productivity.

mantarobot_teleme_facetime.jpg

If you are going to use videoconferencing to visit the office, do you really want to be stuck on a wall, or sitting on someone's desk the entire time? Isn't it preferable to move around, interact with people, have a seat a the table, just as you would when physically at the office?

We may have a way to go before robotics and virtual reality technology combine and develop to the point where using telepresence to visit the office (or any location)  is just as good as being there. Until then, MantaroBot TeleMe is an affordable solution which is almost as good as being there. 





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