My new cheap telepresence robot PuckBot

Here is the website with a video. So I originally built the for use outdoors playing with my kids which it does well but I get buyers who wanted to use it in office environments which doesn't really feel right because its quite low and made for outdoors, it also feels a bit big to be sitting on a table. For the office buyers I used to recommend the double or another similar large upright office based telepresence robots but would get back the response 1)"Theyre too expensive", $2000 and up 2) "If I want to talk to another office worker im not going to log into a robot in another room and then spend 20mins and tons of hassle driving around to their room when I can just Skype directly to the persons phone wherever they are."

I happened to be at a meeting where someone tried exactly this and skyped in on someones phone and it was a disaster, they had to pass the phone around the room to introduce the person and then throughout the meeting they were asking the person holding the phone to point them left and right.. "a little more, little more.." there was tons of eye rolling and everyone agreed never to do it again.

So this got me thinking about telepresence for office and home environments where you want to be part of the conversation ie on the table not off in one corner where the tall telepresence bots are but you don't want to be a hassle to everyone in the room. It should also be cheap because who has $2000 to blow.

So I spent the past 6 months developing PuckBot for sale now for $59. I feel like this is a better solution for a office environment particularly a conference type situation. My ex wife likes it because its small and she can carry it around in her purse. I like it because its really easy to build compared to a ramblebot and friends like it because its cheap. I plan to now develop a plus version with more options like edge sensing, mobile charging, a pointer etc. But for the moment it seems to work really well for telepresence and could be a great cheap platform for robotic mobile apps with visual processing.

/r/robotics Thread