We want to be perfectly clear up front. This iPad remote telepresence robot isn't a product yet, but it is very, very close to becoming one, as you can see from the video below.
The creative folks over at Taptic Toys have married up an iPad 2 with a balancing robotic platform that brings the Anybots product line or a Segway to mind. Since the iPad 2 incorporates FaceTime using its built-in camera and microphone it seems like a natural fit.
The minimalist styling appeals to us a lot also. Using fairly standard, off-the-shelf components a configuration like this should be quite easy to deploy and maintain almost anywhere across the globe, as long as you have sufficient WiFi (or a reasonable facsimile) access for FaceTime to operate.
As we mentioned in the beginning, this particular design is strictly a prototype that the company demonstrated at the Apple WWDC in San Francisco this week - or on the sidewalk outside the venue to be more precise. What better way to get feedback and measure whether or not the device has any appeal to the hordes of devoted Apple developers that make the trek to the premiere Mac Mecca event. The company certainly had a free captive, curious, and geeky audience.
Does the world really need expensive, feature packed, remote telepresence robots based on high performance Linux or Windows systems when all we really want to do is move around and communicate remotely? Or will simple, clean, stylish approaches like the Taptic Toys solution win the day?
We'll have to wait and see how the public, and the business community, end up voting with their dollars. In the meantime, we're betting that designs like this will prevail.