Increased Telepresence Robot R&D Transforms User Experience

In the News
May 24, 2016

A new market report identifies recent innovations in telepresence robot use.

The animatronics at Disney parks have been lip-synching to music for decades, but telepresence robots are offering new capabilities beyond remote-controlled entertainment.

Telepresence is allowing workers to attend multiple meetings, homebound students to participate in classes, and doctors to visit patients in remote hospital wards.

For instance, Audi is using VGo from Vecna Technologies to link its dealers and mechanics.

Advanced telepresence will find an even wider range of applications, predict research analysts at Portland, Ore.-based Big Market Research. In the “Telepresence Robots Industry” report, they gauge the market size, shares, demand, and opportunities.

The global market could be worth as much as $7 billion by 2020, and market watchers have listed several innovators to watch in 2016, including the following:

Disney flaunts haptic telepresence robots

Disney Research has developed a telepresence robot that uses hydrostatic transmission and haptic feedback to be both more responsive to the operator and safer for people around it.

Disney said its configuration uses air and water and is analogous to N+1 cable-tendon transmissions. It would use N hydraulic lines paired with one pneumatic line for its new machine, which then has N degrees of freedom.

In addition, stereo cameras and “bilateral coupling of the low-impedance hydrostatic transmission” provide “immersion” for the remote operator, according to Disney. This specially designed transmission enables the operator to pick up the interactions between the machine and environment the robot operates in.

CARE Network proves worth with LiveHome customers

Telemedicine conferences are also encouraging the launch of software platforms for seniors. Acacia Living’s CARE Network recently announced a successful pilot of Kubi at the American Telemedicine Association’s Annual Conference.

Kubi is a telepresence robot created by San Francisco-based Revolve Robotics.

The Kubi includes a senior-friendly tablet mounted on a base that a care provider can adjust remotely during video calls. It can enable a care provider to more effectively make assessments and provide assistance by remaining face to face with a customer or patient even as he or she moves around a room.

“Kubi’s ability to allow the care managers to look around provides them with a more holistic virtual home visit,” explained Rob Rossi, founder and executive vice president of CARE Network. “Virtual visits can literally save lives, reduce hospital visits, lower costs, and improve patient well-being. It’s rare to get more timely and effective at the same time.”

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