Telepresence bot has a new body!

Now the telepresence robot has an actual support mast for the netbook it uses as the control server and video chat interface. This is much better than the stack of shoe boxes I was using temporarily. For now it is just a four inch PVC pipe with 4 inch flange on both sides screwed into a sheet of quarter inch thick clear acrylic. The flanges fit so snugly that there was no reason to glue them in. This makes it easy to take apart and put back together for delivery to your remote location. The bottom sheet is screwed into the mounting holes built into the iRobot Create. By adding the optional fourth wheel that comes with the Create it actually makes this very stable. The robot and its battery are quite heavier than the laptop and pipe so even with sudden, jerky movement it only wobbles a bit but doesn’t fall down. I’m sure the second you try to go up a slope or ramp it will absolutely fall over. The next upgrade will be to integrate the video chat directly into the control software. As of now you have to have someone in the room with the robot to start up the control software then start up a video chat with Skype or Google Hangouts, etc. Then from the remote computer you would also start up the control software, connect to the robot remotely, then join the same video chat. Then you have to have the control software on top but just moved over out of the way so it can respond to the W, A, S, D keys to drive it around while you chat or just look around. By putting the video chat directly into the control software it will be easier to control remotely without anyone having to be in the room. The next upgrade will be to make a web interface for the remote user to show both the video chat and controls directly in a browser window. As of now, the control software is written in C# so it requires Windows .Net or Mono to run it.

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