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Insights from using Double Robotics for collaboration events

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Technical observations after using Double for 2 months in an office environment:

User Experience

  • Only allow people you know to operate a Double. Double Robots do not have a collision detection sensor. An irresponsible user might intentionally ram into other robots or people (potentially violating the 3 Laws of Robotics), or send it dropping down a flight of stairs.
  • Doubles can be operated through a Chrome browser or an iPhone or iPad. Note that corporate IT departments often don't allow Chrome or may block the site. An iPad with an LTE/4G connection may provide the most reliable method to control a Double from within a corporate environment.
  • Send a stand with the iPad to your operator. You want to get the iPad camera at about eye level for best results. Consider orienting the operator iPad horizontally to keep the controls off to the sides. 
  • Train your operator. The controls are intuitive, but it's a good idea to get your operator familiar with the Double controls ahead of time. 
  • Coach your operator. 
    • Doubles seem more human if they move around all the time. Coach your operator to move frequently and to turn from side to side when talking to people.
    • Consider your face's placement in the frame. Position yourself close to the camera with your face centered in the frame. This looks better and allows the operator device to pick up good quality audio from the operator.
    • Remember to look into the camera lens when talking to people. This will make them feel as if you are looking them in the eye instead of off-camera.
  • Label the robot. Put signage on the Double so people know what it is and how to interact with it. 
  • Each Double should have a human buddy that follows it around and keeps it from getting into trouble (e.g. being stolen, driving into a connectivity dead zone, etc.)

iPads

  • Double Robots work with all models of iPads except for the first generation which do not have front-facing cameras.
  • Late model iPads are better than older ones. They tend to have longer battery life, stronger wi-fi connectivity, and better cameras, displays, and speakers. 
  • Late model iPads also have better mobile data options like LTE and 4G.
  • iPads connect to the Double Robot over Bluetooth. 
  • iPads and Doubles have completely different batteries. Neither component can charge the other. 
  • iPad Airs are smaller than their predecessors and require a special spacer to fit into the Double enclosure. I believe these are free if you ask for them. I don't believe a Double is compatible with iPad minis, iPod touches, or iPhones.

 

Sound

  • Newer iPads have better speakers. 
  • For loud environments, experiment with external sound devices. (Double officially recommends that you do not attach anything to your Double)
  • JamBoxes can be good. If you connect via Bluetooth (an iPad can connect to both the Double Robot and an audio device simultaneously), you may experience lower volume levels due to the noise cancellation feature. 
  • Hardwiring into a Jambox may result in louder audio, but may also result in feedback.

 

Connectivity

  • Beware of corporate firewalls. An LTE/4G iPad for both the Double and the operator is the safest route. 
  • Doubles require data connections of 1Mbit up and 1Mbit down PER ROBOT. 
  • Connecting via cellular connection is power intensive.

 

Range

  • Double declares you can get an 8 hour day of "normal" usage. This means some moving around, but not driving non-stop. 
  • Double battery takes 2 hours to charge and is fully integrated so can't be swapped out
  • The iPad will probably conk out first if it's sending and receiving video non-stop over wireless for hours and hours. Mileage will vary here depending on connection signal strength and model of iPad.
  • Double top speed is about 1mph. Consider this when using for giant conference spaces. 
  • When the Double is 'standing up' (for interaction when people are standing) it's speed is much slower than when it is 'sitting down' (all the way lowered for sitting conversations)
  • If pick a Double up and put it back down, hold it for a second or two while it re-establishes its balance. Otherwise it will send itself and the iPad into a faceplant.

 

Testing

  • The app is free. You can test a lot of the app functionality, especially connectivity within a a specific space, without an actual Double Robot.

 

Price and Shipping

  • $2,499 - 20% discount when you buy 20 units. 
  • They ship via FedEx ground from California – 5 days to the east coast.
  • They produce Doubles in batches. It takes about 4 weeks to complete a batch, so if you call them and they don't have any inventory in stock you may have to wait as long as 5 weeks to get your robot.
  • They don't rent

We highly recommend them. www.doublerobotics.com

Want to work with a team that knows how to put robots to work at your office/conference? Check out the best in the business: www.fireworklabs.com

 

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