When I first started looking into robotic telepresence over a year ago, one of them – HeadThere, a company started at the TechShop in San Jose, CA – was one of the few (at the time) that (I believed) got the value of the idea of remote presence.
In reading their site, they understood the value of technology enabling communication and built a rather compelling prototype called the Giraffe. With a movable base, and a head and neck that moved via remote control, their product seemed to miles ahead of everybody.
Following a link in the Engadget article, it seems as though they have been working out of Sweden designing and developing their product for the use in eldercare. Their new site, giraff.org, shows great video and other details on their Giraff (I assume version 2 with the new head elements).
It’s great to see these pioneers working on their product and using a customer need to drive product development. I can only hope to see the Giraff make it across the pond in the near future.
My favorite quote from the Giraff team:
The founders believe that technology should always work for people, and never the reverse.