Telepresence Robot Proves It’s A Small World After All

jolvoy[Chris] works as part of a small team of developers in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US. [Timo], one of their core members, works remotely from Heidelberg, Germany. In order to make [Timo] feel closer to the rest of the group, they built him a telepresence robot.

It was a link to DoubleRobotics that got the creative juices flowing. [Chris] and his team wanted to bring [Timo] into the room, but they didn’t have a spare $2499 USD in their budget. Instead they mated a standard motorized pan/tilt camera base with an RFduino Bluetooth kit. An application running on [Timo’s] phone sends gyroscope status through the internet to the iPad on the robot. The robot’s iPad then sends that data via Bluetooth to the RFduino. The RFduino commands pan and tilt movements corresponding with those sensed by the gyroscope.  A video chat application runs on top of all this, allowing [Timo] to look around the room and converse with his coworkers.

All the source code is available via GitHub. The design didn’t work perfectly at first. [Chris] mentions the RFduino’s Bluetooth API is rather flaky when it comes to pairing operations. In the end the team was able to complete the robot and present it to [Timo] as a Valentine’s Day gift. For [Chris’] sake we hope [Timo] doesn’t spend too much of his time doing what his homepage URL would suggest: “”

[Thanks Parker]

18 thoughts on “Telepresence Robot Proves It’s A Small World After All

        1. I find it hard to read things when some idiot stands waving like a maniac in front of me behind what I am trying to read, and the effect is the same with gifs, it is distracting as hell.
          And of course gifs are also incredibly repetitive, that gets on my nerves rather quickly too.

          1. Fair enough I just personally dont see why you find it so infuriating. Certainly doesnt stop me reading the text just fine and the animation gives a decent summary of whatsgoing on without the need for a video or to click further. If you cant read while someone is waving there arms thats not the gif’s fault, and those who have no objection to the gifs shouldnt be penalised as a result.

          2. @Whatnot
            This is your personal failing. Please don’t pretend like they’re violating a universal style guideline.

            I mean, not liking them is ok. *Hating* them is ok. Demanding they not be used is childish entitlement.

      1. @Blue Footed Booby
        Perhaps you can read my comments and separate them from other people’s comments? My name is on top on the ones I make.

        And even those saying specifically to not use them are asking nicely I might point out.

        And no you are wrong now that you brought it up, it’s a failing of a webdesign if you annoy half your users IMHO, and yes I am confident that it is around 50% easy of the users that are annoyed with repeating gifs. And I think it’s a very basic ‘style’ guideline to not annoy half the people you are trying to reach (although apparently the world of advertising employs the inverse rule)

        Anyway what I do is hit the escape key to stop animation, or set my browser config to play animations once only and thus solving the issue for myself.

  1. They should have used a better Bluetooth interface. the China modules dont require any library as pairing and everything else is done on the module.

    It just appears as a serial port to the Duino, works fantastic and a helluva lot cheaper at $5.00 each.

  2. Please don’t make me go.
    I haven’t even read this article because it has awful disorienting glitchy video as the picture.
    Stop doing this please.
    I’ll come back in a while when new pictures have pushed it off the front page.
    Bye for now.

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