24. September 2012–
Back in June, Dmitry Grishin, head of Russian online giant Mail.ru, announced a $25million fund backed by his own money to boost personal robotics:
Robotics is at same stage right now that PCs were in early 80s” Grishin told VentureVillage. “There were only a handful of big companies with all the computing power – but lots of smaller ones dabbling with innovations that would ultimately end up in everyone’s home."
Last week's announcement is a sturdy step in that direction. Double Robotics's "Double" combines two iPads and a wheeled stand and screen, with a normal price tag of $2,499, early orders $1,999. Examples in the company's vid show a user checking into a classroom, chatting to a colleague in a remote office and browsing an art gallery before making a purchase.
"It is a consumer-oriented product with potential to fit a broad range of applications," Grishin said in a statement. "It's also important that the price of the product makes it accessible to the wide audience."
Double Robotics is experiencing strong early demand from a good range of countries. The first production run – sold out – will send $1.2 million (600 units) to customers in 44 countries, including to universities and Fortune 500 companies. Grishin Robotics will step in to help the company scale up and do further product development as it works to send out new pre-orders early next year.
As well as telepresence, Grishin is interested in backing robotics for domestic use, home security and transport. "We want innovation that will save natural resources and also help with the issue of an aging population in the West, and also to provide innovations for young people who crave unique leisure activities.”