Nightmare Fuel Telepresence ‘Bot May Become Your Last Friend

After this pandemic thing is all said and done, historians will look back on this period from many different perspectives. The one we’re most interested in of course will concern the creativity that flourished in the petri dish of anxiety, stress, and boredom that have come as unwanted side dishes to stay-at-home orders.

[Hunter Irving] and his brother were really missing their friends, so they held a very exclusive hackathon and built a terrifying telepresence robot that looks like a mash-up of Wilson from Castaway and that swirly-cheeked tricycle-riding thing from the Saw movies. Oh, and to make things even worse, it’s made of glow-in-the-dark PLA.

Now when they video chat with friends, TELEBOT is there to make it feel as though that person is in the room with them. The Arduino Uno behind its servo-manipulated vintage doll eyes uses the friend’s voice input to control the wind-up teeth based on their volume levels. As you might imagine, their friends had some uncanny valley issues with TELEBOT, so they printed a set of tiny hats that actually do kind of make it all better. Check out the build/demo video after the break if you think you can handle it.

Not creepy enough for you? Try building your own eyes from the ground up.


15 thoughts on “Nightmare Fuel Telepresence ‘Bot May Become Your Last Friend

    1. Hey Ren – it’s definitely intentional! My previous robot, Karaokebot, used the face from a knock-off Thomas the Tank Engine toy.
      I wanted this robot to feel like it was in the same “family” as Karaokebot – it sounds like that worked out!

  1. Totally stupid. Haha! Not quite rad, but totally cool. It should be on their door as a doorbell/intercom/camera. Maybe sell kits… hahaha! 😂😖🤣

  2. Honestly, it does the job. It’s creepy as all ef, but it certainly feels like it’s talking rather than it being just a speaker.

    I’m currently working on something similar but different involving a Kinect and a 3d display of some sort that would allow you to have the feeling of sitting across the table from the other person and have some depth perception. Kind of like something with the visual quality of a hologram from star wars. I’ll let you know if I get anywhere with it.

      1. It makes me wonder – rather than encoding RGB values, given a limited resolution, could you encode XYZ coordinates instead, maybe reserving an extra byte for monochrome luminance? With compression, it should come out about the same, maybe a little larger in size, but still give a decent effect.

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