Telepresence hasn’t taken off in a big way just yet; it may take some time for society to adjust to robotic simulacra standing in for humans in face-to-face communications. Regardless, it’s an area of continuous development, and [MakerMan] has weighed in with a tidy DIY build that does the job.
It’s a build that relies on an assemblage of off-the-shelf parts to quickly put together a telepresence robot. Real-time video and audio communications are easily handled by a Huawei smartphone running Skype, set up to automatically answer video calls at all times. The phone is placed onto the robotic chassis using a car cell phone holder, attached to the body with a suction cup. The drive is a typical two-motor skid steer system with rear caster, controlled by a microcontroller connected to the phone.
Operation is simple. The user runs a custom app on a remote phone, which handles video calling of the robot’s phone, and provides touchscreen controls for movement. While the robot is a swift mover, it’s really only sized for tabletop operation — unless you wish to talk to your contact’s feet. However, we can imagine there has to be some charm in driving a pint-sized ‘bot up and down the conference table when Sales and Marketing need to be whipped back into shape.
It’s a build that shows that not everything has to be a 12-month process of research and development and integration. Sometimes, you can hit all the right notes by cleverly lacing together a few of the right eBay modules. Getting remote video right can be hard, too – as we’ve seen before.
8 thoughts on “DIY Telepresence Robot Built From Off-The-Shelf Parts”
What is this? A DIY Telepresence robot built from off-the-shelf parts for ants?
Nicely done. If the phone can tilt up and down, it would be good.
Awesome build anyways :)
Awesome work! is the ‘custom app’ documented somewhere? Looks like an MIT AI2 style app.
It’s using Blynk, so the only code needed is on the microcontroller side (and is linked in the video description).
The app used is Blynk for the iot side and Skype for the video feed.
It’s mentioned in the video description.
If you don’t like looking down how about a mirror on a stick and the phone facing up at the mirror? The mirror could be Mylar or something else lightweight.
A more modestly designed DIY telepresence robot that replaces an extravagant custom app with some diodes and DTMF tones… :)
(this is HACK-a-day, right?)
“However, we can imagine there has to be some charm in driving a pint-sized ‘bot up and down the conference table when Sales and Marketing need to be whipped back into shape.”
Makes me think of my favorite scene in the movie “Elf” where the agressive/moody dwarvan children’s book-writer charges along the confrerence table at Elf whn he calls him an elf. The film wasn’t that great, but that scene will never be forgotten.
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