After years in the tech wilderness as a never-quite, video calling finally became not only a viable form of communication but, thanks to rapid advances in smartphone technology, an affordable everyman technology. Obviously, a lot of this was driven by a certain ‘i’ obsessed device, but the wider uptake of the eye-to-eye exchange has been pushed by the online marvel that is Skype. However, whilst families, friends, business-types and even dangerous crime bosses can now catch-up, chat, swap ‘blue sky thinking’ and deliver some seriously chilling death threats, respectively, there is still something lacking with video presence. Or at least there was…
This is Botiful; a prototype Android-assisting robot which, if its developers achieve their US $90,000 Kickstarter goal, will soon be changing the way we interchange over the internet forever. Integrated with Skype, simply drop your Google OS phone into Botiful’s dock, start your Skype, and from that point onwards the caller at the other end takes complete control, directing Botiful to point in any direction.
Capable of turning on its axis, moving back and forth, and tilting up and down, not only can your connection see all around independently, but with the addition of some smart apps, they can even nod or shake their head, depending on how well/badly your conversation is going.
Currently standing at US $40,000 in the Kickstarter stakes with 26 days to go, Botiful looks every bit like becoming a commercial reality and, although solely Android at the moment, its developers will pay deference to Apple and its part in pushing video calling through in-your-FaceTime with an iOS version in due course.