AI News, Double 2 Telepresence Robot Has Better Stability, New Camera, and Turbo Button

Double 2 Telepresence Robot Has Better Stability, New Camera, and Turbo Button

Today, Double Robotics is announcing the Double 2 telepresence robot, which is (sadly) not called the “Four.” But it’s still worth having a look at, because it includes a brand new TURBO button which will turn your mild-mannered telepresence robot into a mostly stoppable force of non-destruction.

There’s also now a thing called Lateral Stability Control, a “transformative, patent­-pending technology” that involves “a shock absorption mechanism and advanced software algorithm.” Essentially, it helps to keep your robot from tipping sideways to its death if it rolls over stuff, which is important.

For $250 you’ll get the following, which is backwards compatible with suddenly old Double 1s: “Camera Kit is an attachable camera with a 150 ­degree wide ­angle lens that increasesfield­ of ­view by 70 percent on both sides.

For a base model Double 2, if you spend, say, five hours a week telepresenting yourself (which seems like a lot), that’s $9.60 per hour you could pay to someone off Craigslist to do your remote bidding for a year.

If you already an original Double 1, you can take 10 percent off the price of your new one as long as you jump on it before the end of February, and if you’re so inclined, you can get yourself a Double 2, Camera Kit, Audio Kit, and Charging Dock all at once as a package for just $3,000.

The Double Robotics Double 2 Telepresence Robot Review You’ll Love

Telepresence robots give telecommuting employees a way to have a remote presence at the office even if they are hundreds of miles away.

Lateral stability control.  When you drive a telepresence robot all around the office, it will undoubtedly pass over obstacles such as power cords, thick carpets, as well as varied floor types.

The base of the robot’s long neck is no longer firmly attached to the wheeling platform and can now move from side to side.

For instance, once you drive it over a thick power cord, the robot’s base will move from side to side in order to pass over that cord.

Power drive. Under normal mode, the Double 2 Robot can go as fast as 1.8 mph, which is more than double the first generation Double Robot’s top speed of 0.8.

And if you need to cover long distances, you can engage the power drive mode, which adds up to 80% of the robot’s normal speeds.

Surfaces. The Double 2 Robot works indoors, and can travel on any flat surface such as carpeted floors, tiles, and hardwood, among others.

Battery running time. The Double 2 Robot uses a lithium ion battery that takes around three to four hours to charge.

Video. The Double 2 Robot uses the WebRTC video protocol, which allows you to watch videos on a Web browser without needing to install plugins.

The full set includes the robot, the charging dock, a camera kit and an audio kit.

With the camera kit, you can also get an always-on view of the floor, allowing you to get a better feel of the remote environment so you could have an easier time driving the robot.

The camera kit also delivers high resolution videos when the robot is stopped, but will adjust the resolution when it is moving.

If you have a first generation Double Telepresence Robot, you will love the fact that you can still use your old charging dock and audio kit with the new Double 2.

While it is good that the company has decided to make the robot available at $2,500 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) for those who just want a way to have a remote presence, getting the full set at the start for a discounted price of $3,000 is still advisable.

This is because you really need to have the audio kit to hear the robot clearly and the camera kit to help keep your robot safe with its always-on floor-view camera.

And the camera kit is such a convenience to have that you’d wonder why the company did not just include it, along with the audio kit, as part of the robot’s design in the first place.

The audio quality is not that good without the audio kit, and without the camera kit, you either have to switch the camera view manually or drive the robot around blindly.

It has very soft audio on its own and without the audio kit, you would have to rely on the iPad’s speaker, which does not give you crisp and clear audio even with normal office noise.

Double 2 Review: Trying Stuff You Maybe Shouldn't With a Telepresence Robot

At CES in January, Double Robotics announced the Double 2, a major upgrade to their super skinny telepresence platform that features better stability and turbo speed.

We’re not going to deliberately run it into stuff, or drive down stairs, or take it swimming, or anything like that.Our goal is to see what the robot is capable of while knowingly operating it outside of the environments and infrastructure that it’s intended to be most effective in.The Double 2 is designed to operate indoors, in offices and workspaces and classrooms where you have strong and reliable Wi-Fi.

Inset on the lower left is the view from a downward-looking secondary camera that shows you the area around the base and the ground directly in front of you (you can click on it to enlarge it, as shown below).There’s also a small window on the right that displays the view from your webcam, which is what everyone on the other end is seeing.

Lag, or latency, refers to the amount of time it takes for you to push a button on your keyboard to send a command to the robot, have that command relayed from your computer to the robot, have the robot to execute that command, and then for the result to make its way back from the robot to your computer.

Anyone who plays real-time online games will be familiar with this principle, but there’s an additional layer here of a physical robot that needs to engage motors.

For a telepresence robot, a good download speed and not-as-good upload speedmeanthat the people interacting with the robot are likely going to have a much better experience than the robot operator.

I guess this is the best way for it to work, since as the user, you’re much more likely to be forgiving of questionable quality than someone who you’re trying to talk to who knows nothing about robots and bandwidth and asymmetrical connections.

Everything was dark and a bit blocky, but not too bad, and my brother said that the image he was seeing on the iPad was good quality, and that I was easy to see and understand, although he stopped short of actually saying that I “looked good.” With the robot up and running, we decided to take the dog for a walk.

They aren’t kidding: there is no suspension, very little ground clearance, and the wheels on the robot are covered in thin strips of rubber that offer good traction but no cushioning.

Still, the robot never fell over (props for that), but there was a lot of starting and stopping, and it was impossible to drive fast enough to keep up with someone walking a dog, which was frustrating for everyone involved (especially the dog).

Part of what made this attempt frustrating for us was that the asymmetric nature of the LTE connection made it so that my brother was getting relatively decent picture and audio from me, while I was getting, well, you saw the picture above.

For the record, I don’t feel bad about doing this because inhigh school I spent about a bajillion hours volunteering in the zoo’sbirds of prey show, so I figure they owe me.

It was an amazing amount of fun to interact with people, explaining what the robot was, andthat yes, I really was controlling it from Maryland.Kids in particular were fascinated, and the Double 2 was, arguably, more popular than the animals.

“What IS that?” “It’s a robot!” “There’s a face on it!” “Is there a person in there?” “That’s so cool!” Many adults were just as fascinated as the kids, although some didn’t seem that enthusiastic about a possiblerobot surrogate future.

While moving, I was occasionally experiencing severely degraded video with latency that varied from a few tenths of a second to a full second, and sometimes the video and audio froze completely for 5 or 10 seconds at a time.

A tap of the arrow key looked like it resulted in a turn of about 10 degrees, but it was hard to get a sense of how much of a turn holding down the key would give you, so my strategy was to just send multiple taps as necessary.

Because of the lag involved, I would often send a command, not see any result, and then frantically send a bunch more as the robot approached a personobstacle, only to have all of them seemingly arrive at once, turning the robot way past where I was aiming for.

Like, there were times where I was trying to peer through video artifacts while driving, and then the video froze, and when it came back 5 seconds later there were a bunch of people all clustered around the robot.

Video and audio were noticeably worse while moving, and also seemed to be bad innarrow, crowded areas, possibly because the available LTE bandwidth was reduced.The best experiences I hadwere while completely stationary and talking to people, or looking at the elephants.

It managed okay, and never fell over, buton a regular basis, the robot would develop a kind of resonating shimmy, which my guess is was caused by the balancing system overcompensating for bumps in the ground.

And it was evenpossible to play golf with the robot by repeatedly running into the ball: The robot wasn’t having it with longer grass or loose dirt, but even these hilly, bumpy putting greens didn’t present a problem: Overall verdict on taking Double 2 off-road?

You wouldn’t want to buy a Double robot specifically for this, but if you have one (or have access to one), you can give it a shot without worrying too much.In fact, the robot was so good at staying upright that,to see what a crash would look like, I had to deliberately cause one: I made the Double drive off of a sidewalkand face-plant into a bush.The robot was totally fine, not even a scratch, and with a sturdy body and iPad case, I imagine it could survive muchworse.

My experience was fantastically better, the best I’d ever had with the robot.I still had a bit of latency, but the audio and video was high quality and seamless, which significantly improved the “being there” feeling.

The Double website leads with two of the most common: “Double gives you a physical presence at work or school when you can’t be there in person.” A personal use case is trickier, especially for a robot that you’d be paying for yourself that costs $3,000 plus an iPad.

Before using Double for myself for a week, I was of the opinion that hiring someone to carry arounda laptop running Skype would be essentially the same experience, except way cheaper and able to deal with stairs.

Mineranged from “almost unusable” to “tolerably decent.” If you get lucky, “tolerably decent” is good enough to have a great time meeting people in public, especially keeping in mind that their experience is likely to be much better than yours.

So the bottom line isDouble and other robots like it are totally and completely at the mercy of your data connection:if it’s good, you’ll have a good experience, andif it’s bad, you’ll have a bad experience.Thisis unfortunate, because that’s not something that the robot makers themselves can really solve.

As cellular data gets faster and more reliable, telepresence robots will work better and become much more versatile, but at this point, it’s something you’ll have to be aware (and careful) of.

The Best Telepresence Robot

If you are set on buying a telepresence robot, the Suitable Technologies Beam Enhanced is the only one that’s currently worth considering.

Pull QuoteOperating the Beam feels like joining a Skype call sprinkled with a bit of Google Street View.Once you do remove the Beam from its box, you plug in the charging dock and the included USB keyboard in order to connect the Beam to your Wi-Fi network.

After viewing a brief but mandatory training video (you can’t start the app without first watching it) that explains all the controls and best practices for safe driving, you can log in and operate your robot from anywhere with a broadband connection.

The Beam’s built-in 104-degree wide-angle camera produced a clear image of our office that looked much brighter and more detailed than the images from both the iPad Air 2’s front-facing camera and the Double 2’s own camera add-on, despite providing only VGA resolution (640×480 pixels).

Your co-workers will look pretty grainy on a Retina display, but the Beam offers great contrast in a variety of settings thanks to superior low-light performance and HDR support that helps you make out even heavily backlit faces and obstacles.

The robot’s downward-facing camera, aided by a pair of LEDs, also gives you a clear view of what’s in its path and includes a handy arrow overlay that shows where you’re headed.

These features, combined with a tight turning radius (and the ability to pivot in place), make it simple to move the Beam out of tight situations (such as our test kitchen’s overcrowded storage closet) where a Double driver would never dare to venture.

On the other side of the conversation, your call recipient will see your face clearly on a brightly backlit 10-inch, 4:3-aspect-ratio screen that’s much more easily visible under bright light than a typical iPad screen.

It offers more administrative features, allowing you to reserve and schedule telepresence time (you can rule out weekend use, for instance), arrange guest logins, bulk-add users, and set it to send notifications if the Beam is left off its charger after use.

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