California-based OhmniLabs has introduced Ohmni, an in-home communication robot built to replicate the experience of dropping in on a loved one, regardless of distance.
The 4’ 8” telepresence robot features a video display with a built-in camera that sits atop a tall shaft, while the base includes a flat platform and wheels for getting around. Users log into the website to make a video call through Ohmni’s screen. They can control the robot’s directions via a remote, making it possible to position it at the dinner table or next to the couch to converse with the family member as if physically present.
“When we started the company, we wanted to do something with robots that could help people,” OhmniLabs co-founder Jared Go told TechCrunch. “A lot of companies are focused on automation, manufacturing, saving costs, and probably reducing the number of jobs, but we believe you need to counterbalance that with robots that improve quality of life.”
OhmniLabs’ founders are particularly interested in how the robot might boost the independence and quality of life of older consumers who live alone or without family members. Currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, it can be purchased for $1,395 – $500 less than the planned retail price. The robot’s set to be delivered in October 2017.