Oculus is a motorized frame and software kit that instantly converts any netbook into a telerobotic, remotely operated vehicle.
The robotic innovations are coming fast and furious! No sooner did we report on the VGo robot now being tested at Boston Children’s Hospital than we came across Oculus, a motorized frame and software kit that instantly converts any netbook into a telerobotic, remotely operated vehicle. The brainchild of Vancouver, B.C.-based Xaxxon, Oculus consists of an adjustable frame that holds a variety of small laptops, along with powered wheels and a tilting periscope for the laptop’s built-in webcam. The USB-powered device uses that webcam in conjunction with the netbook’s microphone and speakers to broadcast two-way audio and video. Control software is available as a free download, allowing users to control the device remotely from anywhere using a PC web browser or iOS or Android device. A charging dock is included — which Oculus can connect to, unassisted, in order to charge the laptop — and an optional headlight accessory allows navigation in the dark. Compatible with both Windows and Linux notebooks, Oculus is now available for preorder on Kickstarter for USD 225; ultimately, its retail price will be USD 270, the company says. The video below demonstrates Oculus in further detail: Security and surveillance are two possible applications for Oculus, but its software is open source and its microcontroller is open and Arduino-compatible, allowing for virtually infinite customization possibilities. One for inspiration! Spotted by: Raymond Neo