We’ve got a few Beam telepresence robots at USV, and use them all the time. Fred has written about them here. We had a team meeting today, and we had two beams going at once — Fred and I were the first to arrive, and we were chatting beam-to-beam — he in
LAUtah, me in Boston, both of us in NYC by robot:
— Nick Grossman (@nickgrossman) January 13, 2016
It works amazingly well. It has now become somewhat normal for robots to be roving around the office, having conversations w people, USV team folks and visitors alike.
One idea that keeps coming up is an extensible peripherals API — the Beam robots already come w a USB port (used for initial setup), and it should be possible to use that to extend it with hardware. We joke about jousting (and have done some), but I could seriously imagine bolting on devices such as additional displays / LCDs, sensors of various kinds, devices that can perform human-like gestures (the way the Kubi can nod, shake and bow), etc.
Thinking of Beam as a platform in this way would certainly extend its capabilities (in particular for industry), and would also position Beam in a much stronger position at the center of an ecosystem. Would love to see that happen.