DoubleRobotics: telepresence gets sexy (and made in the USA)
DoubleRobotics has just released a telepresence solution that isn’t ugly, awkward, or the apparent product of a Junkyard Wars amateur hour competition. To speak in the positive, it’s sleek and beautiful and intelligent.
In a word, sexy.
A Y Combinator startup, DoubleRobotics’ debut product is Double: basically a cylinder and a stick. Just like a Segway, Double balances on its wheels. Unlike a Segway, however, an iPad rides Double, not you. You control it from your own iPad … wherever you happen to be, you see what it sees, and anyone who sees Double, sees you.
Take a look:
The robot, if you can call it that, is only 15 pounds. It adjusts height so you can communicate naturally at either standing or sitting height, and moves forward, backward, and turns as you control it from your own iPad or iPhone at a remote location. When not in use, two kickstands ease down from the cylinder between wheels, allowing Double to conserve power and wait for the next rider.
If you’re shocked that hardware this polished and sophisticated could be created on a typical Y Combinator budget of $20,00-40,000, join the club. But while the company has not received any other funding, and the Y Combinator money has helped, co-founder Marc DeVidts told me that there’s been other sources of income.
“We’ve been working for about a year,” DeVidts said. “DoubleRobotics was bootstrapped from the beginning by building custom robots for Fortune 500 companies.”
The Double will be built in the USA: assembled in Miami, with components fabricated all over the U.S. in various factories. The cost is $2,500, but it can be pre-ordered for $2,000 today.