Videochat Robot: DIY Telepresence Robot

Intrepid engineer Johnny Lee Chung has struck again, this time creating a do-it-yourself telepresence robot for just $500. He explains his method and demonstrates the robot in the following video.


(Johnny Lee Chung's videochat robot)

There are two major components to the project: the iRobot Create which costs around $250 (incl. battery, charger, and USB serial cable) and the netbook which I got for around $250 as well. At $500, this is a pretty good deal considering many commerical ones go for several thousand dollars. The software was written in C# with Visual Studio Express 2010 and only tested on Windows 7 with the "Works on my machine" certifcation. =o) I'm sure there are TONs of problems with it, but the source is provided.

Fictional engineer Tony Rand created something very similar in Niven and Pournelle's 1980 novel Oath of Fealty:

That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely through Todos Santos under Rand's direct control. If he sent out two or three of the small tele-operated devices (he called them Arr-twos after the small droid in Star Wars), Rand could effectively be in several places at once...
(Read more about robot probes)

Be sure to check out these other DIY projects by the formidable Mr. Chung: Wiimote Head-Tracking Virtual Reality Display and the Wiimote-Based Multi-Touch Whiteboard.

Via Johnny Lee Chung's website Procrastineering.

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