Remote presence products proliferating
Y-Combinator’s Spring 2012 success story Double Robotics, which has already sold 600 units in pre-orders, just received another $250,000 from the new Grishin Robotics Robotic Investment Fund, a fund whose strategy is to invest in consumer-oriented products at the scale-up stage of their development.
Double Robotics’ mobile iPad stand sells for $2,499 and utilizes the cameras, speakers and mic from an iPad as well as many of the sensors on their mobile pole with an iPad on top. It is driven from the user’s laptop, wherever they may be.
An even less expensive device (somewhere less than $300), cuter for sure, getting $93,000 in production funding from a Kickstarter presentation, is Botiful, a social presence device. 300 pre-sold devices are in production. Plans for scaling up for further sales are still in the planning phase.
UPDATE: 9/25: Today’s launch of Willow Garage spin-off Suitable Technologies and their new $16,000 Beam mobile remote presence device adds a new and well-funded product into the marketplace. Originally called Texai when Willow Garage produced them, they are now improved in many ways, including having their own docking station and having 4 wireless radios (and proprietary software) to handle transitions between wifi access points.
The big news with the Beam launch is that Scott Hassan, the private and somewhat aloof founder of Willow Garage, will be the day-to-day CEO of Suitable Technologies.