Past Blast: IvanAnywhere shows how remote presence can work [VIDEO]

Six years ago, Sybase developer Ivan Bowman decided to learn to telecommute from his home to his office in Waterloo, Canada.  Once of the funnier aspects of his commute was a collection of videos he and others developed for the potential antics of a telepresence employee.

Here is the first of four videos that show off some of his humor (or humour for you Commonwealth people):

For more on IvanAnywhere, check out Episode Two, Three and Four.

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Beaming into the local hardware store in North Vernon, IN

Dallas in the Suitable Beam

What a great way to visit the parents!

Sometimes, we see interesting stories in the media — and not just on major news networks or websites. This article was found in a local newspaper in North Vernon, Indiana and shows yet another place for remote presence to make a difference.  The original engineer behind the precursor to the Beam, Dallas Goecker, demonstrated the RPD at his parents hardware store in central Indiana. The photo and the article is quite nice — covering all of the points that explain the Beam quite well.

How can you be in two places at the same time? Dallas Goecker does that, in a way, every work day.
I went to meet Dallas at his parent’s store, Goecker Building Supplies, in North Vernon the other day. We talked face to face and eye to eye, joked with his mother and father, Don and Marsha and walked around the store together. I also took a few photographs of Dallas with his parents.
Funny thing, though, Dallas wasn’t really in North Vernon. He was 15 miles away in Seymour.
Through an ultramodern marvel that Goecker helped create, a Beam Remote Presence System, he was in essence in two places at once.
“Wow, that is amazing,” said one customer at the northside store who saw the robotic-like device while I was there. Other customers were also doing double and triple takes.
“The people coming in this morning seem to like it,” chuckled Don Goecker, a justifiably proud papa.

Read the rest of the article in the PlainDealer-Sun.

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Want to join the next Willow Garage? Or the French version of Xerox Parc?

Aldebaran Robotics NAO

If you are one of those who wishes they could help in the next robotics revolution, follow up here and apply with your CV (resume for you Americans!) Be sure to include the following:

  • Resume with references
  • One paragraph summary of research background
  • List of published papers, currently submitted papers and patents
  • Media and dissemination references if available
  • Date of availability

Their blog post follows:
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Posted in GOSTAI, InnoRobo, Jean-Christophe Baillie, Public Service Announcement, RPS Companies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

InnoRobo was a-buzz about Willow Garage…

Last week, we were visiting the 3rd edition of the InnoRobo Conference — an interesting gathering of robotics companies showing off their wares to both the general public and various investors and corporates.

Willow Garage logoCompanies that showed off their wares seem to breakdown into five general groupings:

  • vacuum cleaning robots (or base robots),
  • larger humanoid robots,
  • military or recon robots,
  • general robotic features that can be used separately or in conjunction with other systems (e.g., arms, hands, cameras),
  • and other aggregators/distributors of robotic solutions.

But, in our exploration of the event, one of our team wore their Willow Garage jacket they owned from a previous era.   In doing so, a great many people would suddenly come up to us and say “How is everything at Willow Garage?” or say “I heard things are changing at Willow Garage, all good?” After informing them of the former employment with Willow, we asked what was causing such a strong reaction to the change they heard about.

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Remote Presence Links for March 14, 2013

So, a number of things have happened in the world of remote presence solutions — least of which one of our team has been quoted in a recent article in the Economist. Now, check out the quick rundown of interesting articles that have graced our inboxes.

  • Taking a shot from the BeamTelepresence robots: Your alter ego on wheels – one of our editors worked the The Economist in this story, breaking down the details behind the burgeoning remote presence market.
  • Robot Lets You Be in Two Places at Once (Discovery News) – Suitable Technologies decided to take their Beams to SxSW and had at least three booth Beams conversing with passer-bys during the Interaction event.  And one of us got to pilot around the event and took some great photos.

    The technology, which the company refers to as remote presence, is designed to enable communication between people separated by distance but who also want more flexibility in sharing a physical space.

    “Video conferencing is cool, walking is cool, so together this is very cool,” said Suitable Technologies CEO Scott Hassan.

    In fact, Suitable Technologies sees its competition as face-to-face interactions rather than other teleconferencing services such as Skype.

    “With a video conference you’re stuck on the wall, but this is mobile,” Hassan said.

  • Collection of Remote Presence links including SmartPlanet,
  • vGo has been getting a great deal of milage out of their Verizon commercial and showing how the friendly solution can help students in schools in places like Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, West Seneca, New York and Knox City, Texas.
  • Anybots at FutureMed 2013 – long-time friend Daniel Kraft and his brethren had an exciting time with FutureMed this year and Tim from Anybots got to discuss how remote presence could be used in telemedicine.  Watch the video below:

Posted in Anybots, Anybots QB, Beam, Remote Presence News, Remote Presence Systems, Suitable Technologies, VGo, VGo Communications | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Remote Presence Links for February 24, 2013

So, been some time on the Remote Presence space, but we are back in the saddle getting all sorts of new and interesting pieces of news on the remote presence scene:

  • Our friends at RoboLand found a terrific thesis by Researcher Giovanni Mosiello from the Department of Technology at Örebro University, in Sweden which chooses to extend pilot navigation via Augmented Reality. Worth a read here.
  • Additionally, our friends at the Microsoft Research Labs have also been experimenting with pilot navigation, this time using the Kinect to do a simple following action (as often done in most robotic research). From their abstract, they are able to show that the “person following” behavior is perceived as safe and socially acceptable by remote users — so much so that all 10 pilots who took part in the research preferred our autonomous following method over manual piloting. See their paper here.
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Willow Garage changing is a good thing.

This morning, as we got into the office, some interesting news was awaiting us in the Inbox.

Willow Garage is changing
Submitted by Steve Cousins on Mon, 02/11/2013 – 23:18
Willow Garage has decided to enter the world of commercial opportunities with an eye to becoming a self-sustaining company. This is an important change to our funding model.

The success of the PR2 personal robot and of ROS will continue. There are close to 50 PR2 robots in the world and Willow Garage support of the platform will not diminish. And of course, ROS, as an open source platform, will continue independent of our business model choices. In addition to Willow Garage, its supporters include the Open Source Robotics Foundation and all the other contributors in the ROS community (academic, industrial and individual) who have made it the platform of choice for Robotics.

Erico and Evan got the news from various current and former Willow employees, so we assume that other members of the Willow Garage family were surprised.

But for our money, it sounds like Willow Garage is evolving as it should.
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Posted in Remote Presence News, Scott Hassan, Willow Garage | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Can a kiss with a remote girl be dangerous?

Kissing Through Remote Presence

Does your wife know about this?

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Serge is for real! No, wait! Bossa Nova launches mObi!

Bossa Nova mObi Ballbot

Is this the real-life Serge?

Yes, we have been somewhat busy with the Presidential election and all that recently learned of the mObi (which seems awfully like our favorite Caprica character).

In watching the video Bossa Nova has shown, it looks like the team took the Ballbot concept and created a much better solution that comes with its own kickstand (or the “rapid deploy safety mechanism” invented by Project Scientist Ben Brown).

In a true collaborative fashion, they have enabled the mObi to support both Willow Garage ROS and Microsoft’s VPL.

From the site, we see that the mObi is 4.75 feet tall (compared to the over 5 feet of Suitable’s Beam) and the screen is the same as all tablet devices.

From reading their site, the mObi seems to be a proof of concept similar to iRobot’s AVA – allowing for others to leverage the device.

Check out their video below.

If there is a chance to test-drive this Ballbot, please contact us here.

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“Beam me up, Scotty!” Suitable announces the Beam!

Beam me up, Scotty!At midnight tonight, Suitable Tech’s CEO Scott Hassan unveiled the second version of their Remote Presence System – the Beam.

The Beam itself is not the System, since the collection of components (the Beam remote presence device, the Beam client app and the docking station) make up the entire system. engadget was given a preview which shows the device as Scott has “beam”ed into the Beam. See the video below:

The Beam Remote Presence DeviceYes, Mr. Scott – we are happy to see Beaming work finally. The most notable differences in the Beam seem to be:

  • 17″ screen – largest in class
  • double wifi antennas for both 802.11g and 802.11a – to avoid connection drop out
  • generous navigation camera – much bigger to see the area around the base
  • “wider than normal camera field of view”
  • client app that works natively on Windows and Mac
  • microphone array to provide better directionality for whom is speaking
  • eight hour battery life – handling life’s little chores

As we get more hands on with the Beam, we will give you a more detailed analysis of this device and its value for money compared to its competitors.

For now, We want to Beam!

Posted in Beam, Remote Presence Amusement, Remote Presence Systems, RPS Companies, Scott Hassan, Suitable Technologies, Texai, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment