An Australia entrepreneur found a way for people with spinal injuries who have limited or no mobility to take trips, attend classes, lectures, and meetings using a game controller. Aubot‘s Teleport telepresence robot can be controlled via the Chrome Browser, an Android app, or by Neurosky’s MindWave Mobile Headset.
The MindWave headset has applications in wellness, relaxation, education, and research as well as playing games. Aubot’s Marita Cheng realized the inexpensive brainwave reader had the potential to control the movement of a telepresence robot that could then be used by people with spinal injuries. Through the use of brain focus and eyeblinks, users can learn to make the Teleport navigate and move forward and back and rotate the combination display and camera head piece to view or to communicate with others.
The Teleport is a battery-operated robot with a motorized base and a height-adjustable column on top of which is a 10.1-inch, FHD (1920 by 1200 pixels) LCD display with dual cameras that allow the user to see forward and downward simultaneously. The cameras’ wide-angle lenses have a 120-degree viewing angle. A speaker and microphone enable two-way conversation. Battery life is up to six hours and the batteries can be recharged by moving into position over an included wireless charger.
The column can be raised and lowered from 110 cm (about 43 inches) to 170 cm (67 inches) for conversing with people who are sitting or standing. As the Teleport moves around, front and rear ultrasonic sensors prevent it from bumping into objects and obstacles.
Other Teleport applications include attending school and taking trips, remote care, telecommuting, remote access and monitoring, and security. For people with impaired movement, however, the potential use of the Teleport frees them to get out and participate in the world in a manner that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.