Speaking to someone by Skype from your phone can be a bit awkward at times, with person on the other end often seeing only half your face or a closeup of your earlobe. EnterBotiful, a telepresence robot for consumers designed by Clair Delaunay who used Shapeways 3D Printing for her prototypes. She's already raised over $62k on Kickstarter thus far and has racked up some support by others who are hoping for more natural remote conversations, including TechCrunch and Skype's former Chief Architect Ahti Heinla.
With Skype as a simple interface, the telepresence platform for Android
phones roams around and lets you be remotely present from anywhere in the world. Botiful can enable Skype video calls, baby monitoring, and even entertaining your pets...
Claire used 3D Printing with Shapeways for some of her prototyping and
functional designs, from creating the robot's appearance to testing how she could
mount the motors, sensors,
electronic board, and battery. She also used 3D Printing with Shapeways to design an
efficient mechanism for the tilting head (she 3D printed the gears).
Claire explained, "It really helped me to iterate quickly toward my final design."
For the final product, she plans to use injection molding. She's also considering offering "customization services around Botiful
to let users add new sensors or actuators suiting their needs. For
instance, some people are asking for a LED, or Infrared sensors. 3d Printing would be a nice addition to customize the housing to let users
add new capabilities."