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Double Robotics has started shipping its iPad-equipped telepresence robots

May 31, 2013 | Telepresence Options

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Story and Images by John Koetsier / VentureBeat

Made-in-the-USA Double Robotics is now shipping its innovative new telepresence robots.

The Y Combinator-backed startup officially launched in mid 2012 with a�Segway-like telepresence robot that balances on two large wheels, uses any iPad as its screen and eyes, and rests on a smart kickstand when not in use. And, of course, lets you virtually visit locations, participate in remote meetings, and show your smiling face to distant colleagues.

"We've begun shipping production units," cofounder David Cann told me via email today. "In fact, we've already shipped the first 100. We'll ship another 1,000 units by September."

That's good news, Double Robotics said, not just for themselves, but also for hardware startups in general. There was a significant amount of skepticism that a $20,000-$40,000 Y Combinator-style investment would get the hardware company up and running, but Double Robotics was able to generate enough interest --�and $1.2 million in presales�-- to pull off what would have been seen as impossible just a few short years ago.

"Now that�Pebble, FORM 1, Oculus Rift, and Double have all begun shipping, I think it's clear that hardware startups are legit and here to stay," Cann says.

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