Although telepresence robots do allow remotely-located users to move about an environment, and to see and hear what's going on there, they don't actually let those users perform physical tasks. The Origibot2 does do so, however, as it's equipped with an arm and gripper.
Made by Miami-based Origin Robotics, the open-source Arduino-microcomputer-packin' robot is – not surprisingly – a successor to the company's previously-released Origibot. Like that model, it's equipped with an included Android tablet, and can be remotely-controlled via an iOS/Android/Windows/Mac web app from anywhere in the world with internet access.
Utilizing that app, the user can engage in two-way audio/visual communication with people at the robot's location, plus they can steer it around as needed – so far, that's just like other telepresence robots. The app also lets them control the fully-articulated arm and gripper, though, making it possible to grasp, lift and carry objects.
What good would that functionality do? Well, the company suggests that it could be used for tasks such as unlocking/opening doors, turning appliances on and off, feeding pets, or even delivering medication to grandparents.
The Origibot2 improves on the original with a lighter and stronger carbon fiber frame (the plastic parts are 3D-printed), a more dextrous wrist, plus improved motors and more powerful servos – the latter give it a lifting capacity of 1 kg (2.2 lb). One charge of its NiMh batteries should be good for a claimed eight hours of use.
If you're interested, the Origibot2 is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. A pledge of US$599 will get you one, assuming it reaches production. The planned retail price is $999.
You can see it in action, in the video below.
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