"Welcome to the future."
November 8, 2013 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Double is the ultimate tool for telecommuting. From anywhere in the world, you have a physical presence in the office and can speak to co-workers at anytime. Double is a remotely controlled, mobile teleconferencing system, enabling conversations to happen anywhere and anytime.
posted by andoatnp (72 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Demolition Man called it.
posted by Jpfed at 9:46 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Only 60" tall. No way. I'm 6'4"

I made a character in Oblivion and it turns out it was shorter than everyone else. He didn't even survive through level 1 before I rerolled something appropriately sized.

I just can't handle looking up at people. Weirds me out, man.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:48 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


This was pretty hilarious on the season premiere of The Good Wife.
posted by sixswitch at 9:50 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I dunno, if I absolutely have to appear as a face strapped to a robot, I'd want it to be one of those terrifying four-legged Dog things that can hurl cinderblocks for yards.
posted by griphus at 9:52 AM on November 8, 2013 [44 favorites]


Now instead of being fired unceremoniously in front of a room full of co-workers, your boss can simply roll you into the nearest broom closet.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:52 AM on November 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


Unless the Double is work-issued in which case they just cut the power and "you" drop face-down to the floor because the gyroscopic stabilization cut out.
posted by griphus at 9:53 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm picturing eight of these things gathered around a conference table and it's hilarious.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:54 AM on November 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


This was pretty hilarious on the season premiere of The Good Wife .

That's amusing to me because I did not see the season premiere but came in here to say that I bet this will show up more on TV and movies than it does in real life.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:54 AM on November 8, 2013


So if you need to open a door, you just call out plaintively until somebody comes and opens it?

Also, it seems kinda cheesy to literally put an iPad on a stick as a teleconferencing solution.
posted by jcreigh at 9:54 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Puts a new spin on "Have your machine call my machine".
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:54 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We glued an iPhone to a Segway!"
posted by Shepherd at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


dephlogisticated: I'm picturing eight of these things gathered around a conference table and it's hilarious.

A bit like this, perhaps?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:58 AM on November 8, 2013


Atom Eyes: "Now instead of being fired unceremoniously in front of a room full of co-workers, your boss can simply roll you into the nearest broom closet."

Or worse:

Smith, you're on plan. Your Double must wear the Sheet of Shame until EOQ. We'll revisit your metrics then.
posted by jquinby at 9:58 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Marisa Mayer unavailable for comment.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:59 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked it better when it was one of Stephen Colbert's interns wandering around Times Square.
posted by indubitable at 10:00 AM on November 8, 2013


I can't believe they couldn't sell this as iPad-On-A-Stick. Or maybe Stick Figures.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:01 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually work for a company that is 100% telecommute. I'm trying to imagine what it would look like if we rented an office just for these things, so everyone could be "together." I guess this is how Pixar must come up with their movies.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:02 AM on November 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our new Robo Overlords.

Er, RoboBoss. Great! Managers can roll in and peer over your shoulder without ever leaving their office! Greatest surveillance tool evar!

However, think of the children! We are going to need a clipper chip or NSA backdoor on these things....
posted by CrowGoat at 10:02 AM on November 8, 2013


If they put a Roomba on the base, I might actually be fine with it.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:04 AM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Now instead of being fired unceremoniously in front of a room full of co-workers, your boss can simply roll you into the nearest broom closet.

Unless it's the rolling iPad on a stick that fires you.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:07 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Came to make a reference to The Good Wife episode, staying to say I'd totally would have used one of these at a previous job to roll around a remove cube farm to find an IT guy who was actually at their desk and ignoring IM's and phone calls.
posted by sammyo at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2013


Neo, pick up the phone.
posted by mule98J at 10:14 AM on November 8, 2013


I do not consider myself a violent person but if one of these rolled up to me I'd take a bat to it.
posted by echo target at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless it's the rolling iPad on a stick that fires you.

Someone could make a mint manufacturing a punchable version of one of these. Why go postal on the office when you can just throw a few jabs right in your supervisor's face?
posted by griphus at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2013


jinx
posted by griphus at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2013


I'm picturing eight of these things gathered around a conference table and it's hilarious.

I'm picturing all eight people slowly realizing they're actually logging in from the same Starbucks.
posted by Etrigan at 10:18 AM on November 8, 2013 [36 favorites]


Just get a surrogate.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn it, why did this have to come out two months after I quite my office job!!??!
posted by dry white toast at 10:21 AM on November 8, 2013


I'm surprised nobody has brought it up yet, but Dr. Sheldon Cooper thought of this idea first.
posted by zooropa at 10:37 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm gonna get one of these to work my second job at McDonalds. Pay for itself in like 2 years!
posted by dirtdirt at 10:53 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I recently transitioned to telecommuting after years at the home office and we were joking about doing something exactly like this.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:54 AM on November 8, 2013


I'm picturing eight of these things gathered around a conference table and it's hilarious.

I'm thinking the "math on tape" scene from Real Genius.
posted by Foosnark at 10:55 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great, a new standard of how thin I'm supposed to be.
posted by maxwelton at 11:03 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The good thing is if your boss uses one of these, you can get rid of them by going up or down a few stairs. Like the ED-209!
posted by FJT at 11:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pro tip: if you're the person on the screen, just try to look reallllly busy (coding, spreadsheeting, etc.) and no one will realize that it's just a video footage loop. Meanwhile, the real you is at the beach...
posted by mark7570 at 11:09 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Equip it with a cattle prod and this could be the ultimate management tool.

Also needs a loud air horn. I can't even walk up to someone's cube with out scaring them with a polite knock.

Would it be out of bounds to "trip" the Doubles of the co-workers you don't like?

Dry erase markers + Double = Co-worker with funny mustaches
posted by empty vessel at 11:14 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


See also Revolve Robotics and this use of VGo.
posted by doctornemo at 11:16 AM on November 8, 2013


Pro tip: if you're the person on the screen, just try to look reallllly busy (coding, spreadsheeting, etc.) and no one will realize that it's just a video footage loop. Meanwhile, the real you is at the beach...

Auto responder for boss - "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."
posted by empty vessel at 11:17 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you were worried about it sneaking up on you, the obvious solution is one of those orange bicycle flags on a pole.

And maybe a little bell. Adorable!
posted by emjaybee at 11:17 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scary thought - think of the off shoring opportunities. So much for "we need someone physically here to do this job."
posted by empty vessel at 11:19 AM on November 8, 2013


from the page:

"So, we have one of these in the office. I feel like my communications with Mountain View are 400% as efficient."@LordManley

That says everything I need to know about this product.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:21 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is surely either a pisstake or viral marketing.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:28 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I had one of these, I would have it display the SOUND ONLY graphic from Evangelion.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


This episode of South Park from last year's Halloween also seems relevant.
posted by jason6 at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2013


I'm pretty sure this post is a double.
posted by kmz at 11:43 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a robotics engineer and I've been skeptical of telepresence for a long, long time until I started telecommuting from another country to the office I'd spent 5 years in in-person. OH MY GOD I WANT A TELEPRESENCE ROBOT. Yeah, maybe in a conference room, though Skype can manage that, but mostly I want to roll around our office chasing people down when they don't answer emails or phone calls. Nagging is much better when you're mobile. I'm 100% sold on the concept now.

That said, Double is the cheap way out. It doesn't even self-charge. I want a VGo.

Also Dr. Sheldon Cooper didn't think of it. That was from a company called Willow Garage.

Also I liked this telepresence concept.
posted by olinerd at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


empty vessel: Equip it with a cattle prod and this could be the ultimate management tool.

This is the first thing I thought of when I read that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2013


@Greg_Ace

Imagine if the company decided to put one of these in the homes of all remote workers. Imagine co-workers/boss rolling out of the broom closet when ever they felt like it.
posted by empty vessel at 12:36 PM on November 8, 2013


I just pictured one of these idling at a urinal or rolling out of a toilet stall and come on how is that not the best thing.
posted by griphus at 12:40 PM on November 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Imagine if the company decided to put one of these in the homes of all remote workers.

I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you!! especially since I myself am a telecommuter
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:41 PM on November 8, 2013


This IEEE Spectrum article from 2010 has a short catalog of 7 telepresence robots: When My Avatar Went to Work

I used to work for Evolution Robotics, and experimented with using one of our robots as a telepresence bot. My cats were not amused and eventually led me into a trap made of table & chair legs where the bot got stuck.

I've toyed with the idea of Kickstartering a rugged telepresence dog-toy-bot. It'd be covered in a tough, fuzzy fabric (replaceable, with many skins/breeds to choose from), and could be bitten and batted around without damage. You'd sneak little breaks at the office and drive it from your browser/iPhone/iPad, checking on your dog, chasing him, maybe even ejecting treats from a secure compartment. I'm positive the market is there.
posted by jjwiseman at 12:43 PM on November 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


(That's exactly what I was doing in those pics above--driving the robot from my office in Pasadena and messing with my cats in my apartment in Silver Lake.)
posted by jjwiseman at 12:45 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm picturing eight of these things gathered around a conference table and it's hilarious.

Entire buildings, entire business districts populated with nothing but these, just dead zones in a city.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:13 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


The senior management team where I work approved the purchase of several of these units. They wanted to deploy them in teleworkers' homes though.
posted by klarck at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2013


The senior management team where I work approved the purchase of several of these units. They wanted to deploy them in teleworkers' homes though.

Oh god. I'm just imagining roboboss leering over your bed at 5am. "Wake up! I put the coffee on and laid out your clothes! You've got a full day ahead of you, sleepyhead!"
posted by jason_steakums at 1:34 PM on November 8, 2013


Nope. I don't do "presence" even in real life. Even Skype intimidates me. I'm waiting out this trend until we can use avatars. Actually, I'd relent for a remotely operated robotic cat. No real reason. Or for one of the aforementioned terrifying four-legged Dog things.

...I am learning things about myself today.
posted by quiet earth at 1:42 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Entire buildings, entire business districts populated with nothing but these, just dead zones in a city.

Why even go to the trouble of having physical buildings and robots roaming around-- just have everyone meet in virtual reality.
posted by Pyry at 1:53 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because that'd just be weird, man.
posted by jquinby at 2:03 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pre-order video from Double robotics, no longer linked from their main site.

That video never explained why the manager dudes were unable to leave their beautiful apartments, reduced to sitting on the floor in a corner while conferencing with factory managers or viewing works of art - in telepresence - through an ipad screen.

A much better sell for these products is the NY Times article about these robots in the classroom which broke my heart over how beautiful living in the future can be.
posted by ProtoStar at 2:06 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I want this but as a screen being carried by hovering quadrocopters so I can fulfill my childhood dream of being a big scary floating head.
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


How immoral to destroy it?
posted by Brian B. at 3:38 PM on November 8, 2013


It would be so hard to resist the temptation to sneak up in one of its blind spots and carry it off to be locked in a broom closet somewhere.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:13 PM on November 8, 2013


If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Doublebot getting stamped down and then bouncing back up, forever...
posted by captain cosine at 4:36 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. The ummmmm naughty potential of this is endless. Especially if you can hack on one of those OTHER, urm, telepresence rigs.

Yeah, I'm pretty desperate right now.

Also, I want one of the quadrotor rigs so my giant floating head can battle the Whelk's in a combat for all our souls.
posted by Samizdata at 7:22 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The senior management team where I work approved the purchase of several of these units. They wanted to deploy them in teleworkers' homes though. Oh my god, no. Get the fuck out of my house, Boss-Robot.

This is the same reason I cover up the camera on my work laptop, even though I technically could video in for meetings when I work from home. Unless they want to provide me with some flattering lighting and a backdrop to do it in front of.
posted by emjaybee at 7:44 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


he we have a couple of these in the office, they're really good at sitting there being plugged in while everyone uses their favorite video conference/screen share product to actually conduct business. one time someone's kids came in and played with them - it was a great distraction.
posted by cbecker333 at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2013


Wait a minute. It's not a joke?!

Anyway, it reminds me of that great Newsradio episode The Complaint Box, you know, the one where Mr. James is on a fishing vacation but gets carried around in a talking box (Garelli 5000)?

So why couldn't you just carry the iPads around instead of using wheels ... ? I mean, if you are telecommuting, someone is there on the other end. They don't drive those robots all the way from home, do they? At some point, someone at the other end has to pick it up and move it anyway ...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:36 PM on November 8, 2013


The last place I worked was kind of cheap; we took illegal immigrants and strapped iPads to their faces.
posted by happyroach at 11:42 PM on November 8, 2013


At some point, someone at the other end has to pick it up and move it anyway ...

No, you drive it from home. It's like a very fancy remote controlled car.

Yes, at their most basic, they're a laptop/iPad on an RC car platform. The "robotics" part comes in when they can autonomously navigate around obstacles in the office that you can't see from your interface, avoid running into people, roll themselves back to their chargers at night, etc.
posted by olinerd at 12:57 AM on November 9, 2013


This is just another step towards big robot taking our human jobs. At first, it'll be telecommuters, hidden behind those ipad virtual faces. But then... I think we'll all know what's going to happen.
posted by ph00dz at 3:31 AM on November 9, 2013


As has been alluded to earlier in the thread, this technology actually makes a HUGE difference in helping hospitalized kids feel like they're still part of the social school environment, rather than trapped in their hospital bed with textbooks and nurses.

The technology has been around for a while. I worked in the assistive technology space in 2002, and non-motive classroom robots were already in the wild then.
posted by 256 at 5:44 AM on November 9, 2013


Yeah, the one glaring thing wrong with it: doesn't self charge. It means you need to have someone plug it in for you, which I could see being a hassle.
posted by e40 at 9:55 AM on November 9, 2013


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