Friday, September 28, 2007

Virtual Visiting Robot

The iRobot ConnectR, a robot with the capability of connecting to a remote PC so you can 'visit virtually' with people at a different location, allows you to read your kids a story or feel as if you're in the room with people you can't be near.

Yes, the iRobot ConnectR is coming to a neighborhood near you soon. A pilot program is going to hand out some of these little robots for the mere sum of 199 dollars to a pilot group (that has to be approved it seems) and then afterwards (in 2008 I believe) the robots will sell for 500 dollars a piece.

Doctors have been using robots like this to visit the bedsides of patients and have found them useful. Scientists predict that, like the Japanese who see robots more as potential social aids rather than the current US view of them as utilitarian (the roomba, the gutter cleaning robot, e.g.), Americans will come around to seeing robots as more of a social tool.

Anyhow here's the description for you tech lovers as to how the set up goes:

"Simple set-up

ConnectR comes complete with everying you need to set it up and get going including the robot, rechargeable battery, self-charging Home Base, remote control, headset microphone, and joystick. ConnectR is quick to install and easy to operate. You need a wireless broadband connection in your home and a Windows XP operating system on your PC. You simply charge the robot and follow the user-friendly set-up instructions to connect it to the wireless network in the home. Then you download the ConnectR software program onto any broadband-enabled PC, which enables you to contact ConnectR and use the robot to virtually visit the home." via

{visual description: from their website: a family gathers in front of iRobot (unseen) to visit with Daddy who is on a business trip.}

And here's a photo of the robot in a room with a little boy who is playing on the floor.

(He thinks it's his father - no , his mother - wait, he's trying to get it to vacuum the floor...)

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