Video: Ars rolls in with a telepresence robot

Megan Geuss

In 2012, more than six million Americans reported that they work from home. And with the rise of cheap(er) and (relatively more) plentiful bandwidth, getting necessary tasks done from the comfort of your bed (or office, fine) is becoming more viable to employers and more attractive to talented employees. In fact, Ars employees all work from home, so that we can be surrounded by our high-quality pets and use our comfortable, if completely ergonomically unsound desks and chairs.

Still, we sometimes long for a familiar human face. And when former Ars staffer Kurt Mackey invited me to his office to talk about the telepresence robots that his company, Mongo HQ, bought for the work-from-home crew, I jumped at the chance to take them for a spin. You can see the results for yourself in the video below. Kurt also penned a nice reflection on the advantages and disadvantages of working with a mostly-telepresent staff, which you can read here.

Mongo HQ decided to invest in robots from a company called Double Robotics, but there are many more on the market that you can choose from. Some are bigger, some are smaller, some are specialized for certain types of work (like patient monitoring for doctors). Double Robotics’ “Doubles” cost $2500 and don’t include the second, third, or fourth generation iPad that you need to mount on the robot as the primary vehicle for communication. But in our brief testing, the machinery seems worthy of its price tag. The Double can last eight-hour days and doesn’t require all that much assistance from the people physically present in the office. It can telescope from about six feet tall to about four feet for faster driving, and it handles uneven floors well.

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via Ars Technica http://ift.tt/1k0Rlcc

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