Silicon Valley-based OhmniLabs, maker of the Ohmni telepresence robot, is giving its creation a few new peripherals. Dubbed the Ohmni Supercam, an updated version of the robot will utilize a high definition camera, allowing users to take 13MP snapshots during video calls. There's also a new developer version of Ohmni that includes teleoperated robotic arms.
Telepresence robots remotely embody people in settings like offices, schools, and hospitals. Typically, the mobile avatars are teleoperated by the remote user, allowing them to traipse down halls and turn to face speakers. The category hasn't caught on like many predicted it would, though prognosticators still see a bright future for robots made by the likes of Ohmni and arch rival Double Robotics.
Inclusion of the new camera is a bid by Ohmni to solve a problem common with video conferencing: Content on whiteboards and paper is difficult to see over video, and the stills made from video capture in telepresence systems don't produce crisp images.
"The ability to read a handout or actually see what is written on the board is game-changing for anyone using telepresence robots," says Jared Go, co-founder and CTO of OhmniLabs. "We also predict that it will enhance the ways telepresence can be applied in new industries, such as health care and manufacturing."
Whether a sharper eye is enough to win over customers remains to be seen. The new unit costs nearly $2K, which is a tough purchase to justify to IT when most companies already have functional (albeit highly annoying) video conferencing platforms. The case could be doubly hard to make given that telepresence systems, still relatively new, will likely need a thorough security vetting from a corporate IT department. These things are literally roving sensors beaming information out of the building, after all.
But to the converted, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the world comes around to the joys of telepresence. And the labor is still tight, meaning employers will be looking beyond geographical proximity for qualified candidates. Users on both sides of the remote work equation report more natural, nuanced, and intimate interactions when speaking with colleagues via a telepresence robot.
Ohmni also has a new developer version of its robot available. Unlike the consumer version, which is essentially a beefed up rolling iPad, the developer version has actuated carbon fiber arms.
The developer version will be particularly useful to research institutions, giving grad labs a robust mobile robot platform, as well as entrepreneurs bringing white label robots to market.
More CES 2019 coverage:
- On the eve of CES 2019, the prospects for a post-Windows world
- CES chief Gary Shapiro predicts the biggest hits of 2019 show
- Asus launches Chromebook Education series with trio of laptops
- CES 2019 preview, upcoming phone leaks
- CES 2019: What to expect from the chipmakers
- Nvidia's new GeForce RTX 2060 is just $349
- 5G, AI, design and data collide
- AARP trialing virtual reality for remote healthcare
- iOttie unveils smartphone car mount with built-in Amazon Alexa
- BlackBerry Secure packs aspire to give security to 'all smart things'
- Voice activated trash disposal
- Ford demos cellular V2X with Qualcomm chipset
- Robotic suitcases back (and ... maybe better?) at this year's show
- Google Assistant to hit 1 billion devices
- CES 2019: 3 reasons professionals should pay attention
- Ring expands product lineup with new video doorbell
- Nvidia CEO Huang explains how AI changes everything
- Are these newly launched '5G' services truly 5G wireless?
- Why UBTech is on track to become our first robot overlord
- Sprint unveils smart home Magic Box, confirms Samsung 5G phone
- Samsung announces 5G smartphone sneak peek
- Toyota details Guardian driver assist to avoid car crashes
- Intel unveils 10nm PC products for AI and 5G
- Intel strikes deal with Comcast for 10-gigabit cable
- Intel and Alibaba partner on artificial intelligence
- Intel's Mobileye signs deal with UK mapping agency
- Lenovo outlines ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad X1 Yoga
- Nvidia expands into more mainstream automotive market
- LG's IP Park presents a vision of "evolving intelligence"
- Alibaba's Tmall Genie assistant comes to BMW vehicles in China
- IBM at CES 2019 outlines Q System One quantum computer
- IBM aims to use crowdsourced sensor data to improve local weather