Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Telepresence Robots - A Helper in the Making

Telepresence robots (bots) assist surgeons to interact with their patients at different locations across the globe. This aids business owners monitor their premises, improve their communication, and extend their reach; augmenting market growth. These robots help sick students attend classes & interact with their colleagues. They allow grandparents, sitting miles away, keep an eye on their grandchildren.

Telepresence Robots Market

Their Novel Magic Formula

Disney’s research labs have developed the Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission and Human Safe Haptic Telepresence Robot, also known as ‘Jimmy’. Jimmy uses a hybrid air & hydraulics system to mimic the movements of human operators. The transmission used inside the bot is said to be analogous to an N+1 cable tendon transmission via N hydraulic lines & the pneumatic line for a system.

According to research papers, the common air-filled lines can preload all the degrees of freedom in the system. This transmission allows the stiffness of a water-filled transmission with half as many hydraulic lines. It is mounted inside a haptic telepresence robot which is affixed with a pair of arms and neck with stereo cameras on top.

The bot operator receives live video feed from stereo cameras that are mounted on its head. The same gives real-time feedback to the operator and helps him get improved control over the robot without seeing what it is up to.

The robot can imitate minute details of humans. Jimmy offers instantaneous physical response, enhanced precision, and speedy response. This is possible using nearly half as many cables in its body; reducing its size &weight. In comparison to other robots, Jimmy is described as fast, lifelike, and graceful. The bot can also play ‘patty-cake’ games with children, pick up & crack eggs, wave at people, and dance; among other things. So much so, that it can even thread needles.

Disney plans to make these bots completely autonomous. The bots hope to replace people who role-play Disney’s characters some day.

Telepresence Robots - Market Scenario

The telepresence robot market will exceed USD 7 billion by 2024. The industry is projected to be driven by expansion across the education, healthcare, and consumer sectors.


Awabot, InTouch Health, Suitable Technologies, and Vecna Technologies are some of the leading competitors. These companies battle for dominance on account of advancements, quality, price, services, etc.

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