Telepresence robots don’t have to look like a runaway drinks trolley – they can be cute little things, especially when you build them yourself. Instructables member Sparkyrust has done just that, with a Mac mini-powered mobile Skype robot using predominantly off-the-shelf parts.
Check out the demo video after the cut
The project uses an Apple iSight webcam and a 17-inch display; a smaller, 7-inch screen was discarded after complaints about image quality. Remote control of the robot is all done through Skype; while the video chat is going on, the remote caller can use custom keystrokes in a Skype chat window to move it around.
There’s no indication of how much this all cost, but obviously that will depend on whether you have a donor screen and Mac mini (or other small computer, such as a Mini-ITX board) or need to buy them specially. I’m expecting to see WowWee’s Rovio modified with a built-in display by some clever hacker soon; at $299 it’s a cost effective replacement to the robotics this DIY telepresence platform uses.