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 Meet QB, Your New Robotic Coworker

This story is from the category Augmenting Organics
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Date posted: 23/05/2010

It looks sort of like a Segway that?s developed anthropomorphic characteristics. It?s really a high-quality videoconferencing system on wheels. It?s called QB, and if startup Anybots is successful, it could be coming soon to the conference rooms, offices, and hallways of businesses everywhere.

QB is a ?remote presence robot??a remote-controllable puppet designed to be the eyes and ears of telecommuters, workers in branch offices, and others who collaborate with people in an office when they aren?t in the office. As with Willow Garage?s experimental Texai robots, a telecommuting worker can use QB as an in-office doppelganger, maneuvering it around to attend meetings, drop into the offices of colleagues, and otherwise interact in ways that go beyond what?s possible with ordinary videoconferencing equipment or speakerphones.

Anybots founder Trevor Blackwell told me that Anybots initially wanted to build a more elaborate, dexterous robot who was capable of picking up and manipulating objects. After experimenting, though, the company decided to keep it simple. QB has no arms or hands. Cameras in its eyes capture video; speakers and microphones let it relay sound back and forth; an LCD in its forehead can display a still image or video of the remote colleague; a laser pointer gives it the equivalent of a virtual finger to jab at things. And the wheels let it scurry around a workplace as long as stairs aren?t involved. (Blackwell says that he envisions companies with multiple floors keeping a QB on each level.)

See the full Story via external site: www.pcworld.com



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