Last we heard from Anybots was back in February of last year, when they were offering a robotic receptionist service called AnyLobby. Since then, it's been fairly quiet over there, but apparently, this is why: they've been working on a new telepresence robot called Q(X), which made its first appearance at a party last week.
At first glance, Q(X) looks like a cross between that monolith thing from 2001: A Space Odyssey and a Game Boy from the 1990s. All we really know about it is that it showed up at a party hosted by Polycom, who makes videoconferencing equipment and is partnering with Anybots to robotify their videoconferencing experience. The Q(X) comes with both 720p and 1080p video cameras to give you some quality options, along with a Polycom microphone mounted midway down the robot's body. There are several different display options, and using a modular system, you can decide whether you'd prefer one landscape display, two stacked landscape displays, or one long portrait display.
Moving on down, we see some stereo speakers, a downward-pointing navigation camera, and most interestingly, a little baby Hokuyo laser scanner "that enables assisted steering and object detection." There's also mention of a docking station. The top speed of Q(X) is about 5 km/h, and it can supposedly "traverse rough terrain." It's not specified that Q(X) is self-balancing like QB is, and it's hard to tell from the pictures whether there's a trailing wheel or not that keeps the robot upright.
As far as we know, this particular party (which we were obviously not invited to because when we go to parties all we talk about is robots so nobody invites us to parties anymore) is the only place where Q(X) has officially made an appearance, and there's no mention of it on the Anybots website as of yet. It's supposed to be available (and shipping) as of this month, though, so we'd like to think we'll hear a bit more about it in the next week or two.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.