Rather than give your old iPad to your grandmother, for $1,999, you can buy it a set of wheels and turn it into a robot version of yourself that can attend meetings for you in far away locations.
Sound crazy? It’s real. A company called Double Robotics is selling “Wheels for your iPad,” and billing the tool as the “most elegant way to be somewhere else in the world without flying there.” Essentially it is a set of wheels and a pole that you can attach your iPad 2 or 3 to that you can control remotely, communicating using the tablet’s camera through the Double app. It has self-balancing sensors to keep itself upright and you can adjust the height to stay at eye level with the person you are virtually meeting. Retractable kickstands help conserve power, and one charge should last all day.
Obviously your iPad robot can’t get an airline ticket and collect frequent flier miles for you, but you could probably use this if you have a fixed location to keep it, like an office in another city. The company is also pitching these robotic wheels to museums and retailers, with the concept that these robots could potentially give tours or handle customer service.
Check out this video demo.