Smartipresence is a cardboard kit and robot that lets videocallers see what they want – and not up your nose

06 August 2020 / 16:44BST

Telepresence robots aren’t new, but until now have been designed to move CEOs around boardrooms when they’re in fact elsewhere, eager for another round of golf. Smartipresence (from £15 / £50 with bundled Smartibot) brings the concept to the masses. It’s a cardboard kit that works on top of Smartibot, a flexible platform for building robots that works with your phone. The end result is a body for your blower that resembles a tiny cardboard forklift with a dinky grinning circuitboard clinging on like a limpet. But it’s versatile stuff, giving whoever’s making a call the chance to more fully interact with a kid on a playmat, or nose around the recipient’s abode. And because the kit’s extensible, ambitious users can expand on these foundations, adding chunky wheels, Lego claw grips, or a plastic motorised duck for when all you really want to commune with is nature.

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