Beam Plus: Telepresence Robot for Home

Beam Plus (+) is the latest fantastical project that comes out of the Suitable Technologies lab, a telepresence robot engineered for interacting with people.

Beam Plus definitely cannot be used in a relationship where having a body really matters. However, there are many situations where this telepresence robot can be useful, and one of these is to spend some time with your family when you’re far away from home.

Interacting with people means an efficient communication in any place at any time. Using wheels and a network of sensors, the robot can be driven around safely keeping in real-time the sound and video data.

If you already know the Beam Pro, you have to know that the Beam Plus is based on this one, but with a few changes in minus. Even it looks like a Beam Pro and share few specifications, the Plus is designed keeping in mind the home, and less the offices or conference settings.

It could be used at home to communicate with your kids, watch your pet, or inspect the house when you’re far away.

The price is very attractive and starts from $995 if your order is in the first one thousand. The real price of this wheeled robot is $1,995.

Even without the promotion, the Beam Plus is still relatively inexpensive. Compared with other telepresence robots such as Double ($2,500), VGo($5,000), or Anybots QB($9,700).

Design

Inside, the mobile telepresence robot runs Ubuntu-based Linux OS, while for video/audio communication runs the Skype.

Controlled from distance, the Beam is connected via WiFi connection and can stay up for about 2 hours. Others 4 hours should stay to be charged.

The operator receives video images from two built-in cameras, and four microphones catch the sound around the robot. The robot can be controlled from room to room around the house as long as there aren’t stairs. The user has available a big screen and a powerful audio amplifier.

Specifications

  • Battery life – 2 hours of running and 4 hours to charge;
  • Display — 10-inch LCD flat-panel;
  • Built-in cameras — two 640×480 HDR cameras; 30 fps video;
  • Audio — 4-microphone array; powerful audio amplifier;
  • Connectivity — dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi;

Beam Plus is designed to join your friend and family when you’re not around. The operator can drive the wheeled robot around the house and communicate through video/audio images. Using wheels is not the best choice, and this is visible in case of stairs. The robot can be wheeled around the place only on flat surfaces.

Functionally, the Beam Plus is nearly identical to Beam Pro, while it can be classified as a step back. Cheaper, moved on wheels, and with a friendly interface, the Plus is a good alternative to expensive telepresence robots.

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