Telepresence bots make people who have to work remotely feel less cut off from their co-workers in the office and helps facilitate more organic communication and collaboration. Many telepresence bots are pricey given that they have to integrate cameras, microphones and sensors to help with navigation in addition to servos and wheels, so they’re out of reach for most regular Joes.
A new Kickstarter project called Botiful aims to change the paradigm a bit. Instead of a complete telepresence unit, the Botiful uses an Android phone as its brains.
Not surprisingly, this telepresence device is aimed at the consumer market, not enterprise. It would be a little odd to have to pick your boss up off the floor each time he needed to have a conversation with you. But a little robot rolling around on the floor of your house, interacting with your kids sound fun.
This has the potential to catch for with business people who spend a lot of time on the road away from family. The project page also suggests it as a good baby monitoring tool. Parents who want to keep an eye on kids when they have to work late will appreciate this little guy, too.
If you back the project for $199 you get one of the first 150 Botiful bots for your very own. Techie folks interested in developing for the Botiful can get access to the SDK for pledges of $245 and up. The goodies get more interesting as you go up in price.
Currently, the project isn’t fully backed yet, though they’re almost halfway to the $90,000 goal. iPhone owners, don’t feel left out. If the project gets $100,000 in backing they’ll work on an iOS version, too.