Telepresence robots allow people who are away from home to check in on their pets and make sure burglars haven’t broken in. Regular viewers of the TV show The Good Wife know that telepresence robots can also be used to take part in office meetings when users are home sick or on a business trip. Such devices can also conceivably be used so that sick kids don’t miss important lessons at school. One major problem so far has been that these devices are too costly.
EMotion is designed to be a more affordable option for consumers who want a telepresence robot. The moving robotic device works in conjunction with iPads or Android tablets. Additional functions that can be done with it include video chatting with friends and family via services such as FaceTime or Skype. EMotion ships in June at $599, although early bird Kickstarter backers can get one for a pledge starting at about $178. Its makers hope to raise $48,146 by March 3.
The device is certainly a more affordable option than the $3,000 Double Robotics device. But eMotion is more expensive than the similar, sub-$200 Telemba that only worked with Android mobile devices and failed to achieve its funding goal in 2014. More sub-$500 products in the category are likely. EMotion was designed for 10-inch tablets, but can hold tablets as small as 7 inches. However, it’s only compatible with iPads (except the first iPad) running iOS 8.0 or later, or Android tablets running OS version 4.0.3 or later. Another potential negative is that eMotion doesn’t include a self-charging feature. Backers, however, can opt to add their own USB charging units for extended standby and running time.