Guest Post: Mattermark

Mattermark collects and organizes comprehensive information on the world’s fastest growing companies.

Our company has grown from 35 to over 50 employees in the past year. With the growth, we have started to have a few remote employees. The more time our employees spent working remote, the more everyone became frustrated communicating across distance. We tried to host meetings using simple tools like Google Hangouts or conference rooms with a speakerphone.  The audio quality was terrible. At first, the remote employees would tell us in headquarters they couldn’t hear, but eventually they just started to give up on interrupting the flow of the meeting. It was clear that if we didn’t do something, we were going to give up on having remote workers.

In early 2016, we took the plunge and bought a Double Robot for our San Francisco headquarters. Right away, we started to notice a difference.  The first “aha” moment for me came in our weekly engineering meeting. Someone had stepped to the whiteboard in our headquarters to start drawing an architecture diagram. Previously, we were connecting with the team using Google Hangouts, and no one in the conference room would think to reposition the laptop’s video camera to look away from the conference table and towards the whiteboard. With the Double, it was easy for our Seattle office employees to just turn the camera and see what was being drawn on the whiteboard.  Under our old Google Hangouts approach, they would have just given up on seeing what was on the whiteboard.

A few weeks later, I was out on a sick day. I had a quick question for one of our data analysts, but she wasn’t paying attention to Slack. I really needed an answer to make progress on a project, and previously i would have been relatively helpless to do anything about it. I realized, “Oh I can just drive the Double Robot over to her desk and see if she’s around.” Sure enough, after a few minutes rolling across the office I found her and got the answer I needed. This is a big deal for us, because we really dislike it when people still recovering from a cold or flu come into the office trying to show off their work ethic while making everyone else sick. The Double Robot gives them a bit more encouragement that they can work remote an extra day while they finish recovering.

These are just two of the many ways that our Double Robot helps has build a great remote work experience. We’re excited to keep finding more ways to use it.

Blog post & video courtesy of Kevin Morrill, co-founder & CTO, Mattermark

Guest Post: Sheboygan Area School District

The Sheboygan Area School District is a large, urban school district on the eastern shore of Wisconsin. Our district is made up of 26 schools and serves a diverse student population of over 10,300 students in four-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Sheboygan Area School District is a forward-thinking district and we are always looking for solutions to meet the varied needs of our student population.

At one of our elementary schools, we have a 2nd grade student who is recovering from a rare form of cancer called Burkitt's Lymphoma and could not physically attend classes. Joseph’s illness and treatments made it difficult for him to attend school. “We found that piling days of school work on this student wasn’t very effective because it became very overwhelming for him,” said Mike Jaber, who is the Sheboygan Area School District Coordinator of Instructional Technology. “I watched a news story on the Double Robot, it piqued my interest as a district technology leader and I looked into it further.” Jaber was able to test drive a demo of the Double, and after speaking to one of the Double employees, knew this technology could help serve our students in need.

There were other technologies out there that had some similarities with functionality, but nothing compared to the Double’s build quality, ease of use, and capacity to navigate around a space to actively participate.  The Sheboygan Area School District purchased two robots from Double Robotics.

While the Sheboygan Area School District had hired a tutor to work with Joseph, he was missing out on the social aspect of school as well as the academics. Through use of the Double, we were able to offer Joseph a unique opportunity to attend school virtually. After a few test runs, Jaber met with Joseph’s family and teacher to explain the idea. Joseph would use his iPad at home or at the hospital to control his Double, which would be kept in the classroom.

The robot affectionately became known as ‘Jobot.’

Joseph’s teacher Mrs. Karen Rowan-Lieser welcomed the opportunity to have Joseph virtually attend class.

"As we strive to do with all kids, we are meeting Joseph’s needs in a different manner,” Rowan-Lieser said. “We always try to provide different options for kids and their parents. This is just another option.”

‘Jobot’ has given Joseph the ability to attend school from a hospital bed, or the comfort of his own home, and still feel “connected” to his classmates and classwork.

Joseph virtually joined the classroom most days. He could listen to lessons presented by his teacher or work with his classmates on assignments. Sometimes, Joseph’s dad would accompany ‘Jobot’ around school during a special event, so other students at school can say hi and Joseph can be a part of the school activity. In October, the school held a color run and Joseph was able to travel through part of the course using his Double.

Joseph has recently begun transitioning back to school and his academic and social interaction with his peers through the Double was invaluable during this absence from the classroom. His teacher felt the Double provided an essential connection to his school work and classmates, which has made his transition back much easier.

The strength of the Sheboygan Area School District is our ability to offer learning opportunities to meet the varied learning needs of our students and families. In this situation, Double Robot was able to help us provide a learning solution for a student in need. Utilizing the newest technology to help kids learn keeps us at the forefront of education.

Joseph’s classmates also benefitted from the Double’s presence, as they are able to experience how the integration of technology can be a real value in education, as well bringing awareness of how technology surrounds them in everyday life.

Pictured below, Joseph virtually practices his spelling words with a classmate, using his Double Robot.

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Pictured below, Coordinator of Instructional Technology Mike Jaber, poses for a photo with Joseph who is virtually attending class through his Double.

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Video:

Sheboygan Press article: http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/2015/12/07/robot-attends-school-young-cancer-patient/76737008/

Blog post & photos courtesy of Mike Jaber of Sheboygan Area School District

Guest Post: FIGLAB

Based in Japan, FIGLAB is a creative platform and online community devoted to the exploration of visual expressions with cutting-edge technology. By featuring new technology, we instantly visualize and materialize new ideas for both social and business problem solving. The open innovation community accelerates the collaboration of various kinds of creative fields, such as film, graphic, photography and engineering.

FIGLAB approaches unbounded visual expression such as physical installations that inspires human five senses,  apps with new interaction design, interactively generated motion graphics, and robotics installation. FIGLAB covers not only brand promotions and advertisements, but also the creation of whole new creative output by making our original prototypes continuously.

Double from Double Robotics is a two-wheel, self-balancing telepresence robot that moves about in the exhibition area of FIGLAB. Visitors can interact with the person driving Double, as their face appears on the screen. The driver can also display a web page on the iPad screen. The visitor can touch the screen and interact with the content that's being displayed. 

See Double in action at FIGLAB: 

Blog post & photo courtesy of Kento Sugimoto, FIGLAB

Guest Post: Tallaght Hospital

Tallaght Hospital, located in Dublin, Ireland, is developing a reputation for the innovative use of technology in their patient care. It's the first hospital in the country to deploy a Remote Presence Robot which helps doctors diagnose strokes quickly so that clot busting drugs can be administered within the four-and-a-half hour target time, improving the chances of recovery.

But on to the latest innovation – you may have seen its type on a recent episode of Modern Family (Robot Phil), or the Tate Museum in London offering unique ‘after dark’ tours by robot but the Tallaght Robot is different.

Approximately five feet tall with a screen for a head, the doctor operating it on the other end is seen and heard. A camera is mounted on top, transmitting video and audio back the other way. The doctor uses a mobile phone to move the robot. The mobility of the Double makes it more user-friendly. With modern technology what it is now, patients of all ages are used to video conferencing through FaceTime and other technologies. While they are a little surprised to see a ‘talking head’ by their bedside, it is not an entirely alien concept.

LUCY is used in the Acute Surgical Assessment Unit in Tallaght Hospital, providing access to the most senior consultants on urgent cases that need a consult. This enables medical staff to ensure patients are seen and assessed quickly so decisions can be made to their care. The decision to admit a patient to the hospital or what tests need to be carried out for example. This reduces the time the patient has to wait considerably. Using a well-developed protocol, senior clinicians can provide a consultation quickly, for example a surgeon can be scheduled to undertake endoscopic procedures for a number of hours which would mean a patient has to wait. But by using LUCY, a consult can be provided between procedures, shortening the waiting time for the patient. It is also being used for ward rounds on two wards in the Hospital and as the mobile network infrastructure is upgraded this will be extended out to other parts of the hospital.

By using this technology, the efficiency of the unit is increased and makes specialists available around the clock as they can speak with the patient from their mobile phone via the screen when time is of the essence. It’s a major leap forward in the use of technology in Irish healthcare and has only begun use recently after the €5 million upgrade of the hospital’s ED.

Tallaght Hospital is the first to use this type of robot at present but no doubt something we will start to see a lot more of in healthcare.


Blog post and photo courtesy of Paul Ridgway, MD, Tallaght Hospital

Guest Post: Printful

Double Bridging the Gap Over the Atlantic Ocean

Printful's 35,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Los Angeles houses more than 60 employees and 60 printers. While our printing and shipping magic takes place in sunny California, we also have an office and dedicated staff halfway across the world in Riga, Latvia. We use email, Skype, Reamaze and Slack to communicate across continents, but sometimes it's not enough and we enlist the help of our Double. 

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What is Printful?

In a nutshell, Printful is a dropshipping service for print products, like t-shirts, posters, and leggings. Online retailers connect their stores with us, submit their designs, and sync their products. When an order comes in for something from their store, it goes to us and then we print and ship it to the customer.

We were founded as part of the Draugiem Group, the largest IT company in Latvia. Our Latvian team consists of programmers, designers, customer service reps, and marketing coordinators. The team in California is responsible for fulfillment, and additional customer service.

Why Double Works for Us

It's hard communicating with an ocean and a 10-hour time difference separating both offices. Our Double is useful when the programmers in Latvia need to check up on a printer or run test prints when the LA office is already closed for the day. Rather than waiting until somebody is in the office to call them, we can activate the Double and take a closer look ourselves. This keeps time difference delays at a minimum.

"Operating the Double feels like operating a character in a video game, except you're moving it around in a real space." – Ģirts Upītis, programmer and main Double user

It's also handy when somebody in the Latvian office needs to contact someone in California about an urgent matter. Rather than playing phone tag and emailing back and forth, it's possible to zip around on the Double to find the right person.

On a slightly less practical level, it's nice for the team in Latvia to see the magnitude of our operations first-hand. Working from so far away, it's easy to forget how much Printful prints and ships on a daily basis. Staff members in Latvia can hop on the Double, “walk” around the warehouse, and see for themselves. It's inspiring to see how much we do, and it's reassuring to know that the team's efforts in Latvia really are impacting growth.

Check out Double in action at Printful's office: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yltd6nqgiju3wus/RoboCop.mp4?dl=0

The Future of Work?

The way we work is rapidly changing. Thanks to the internet, we are becoming more globally connected and it's not uncommon to have employees working remotely, or offices split up in different locations.

One of the drawbacks of a remote workforce is the lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues, but technology is slowly changing this. Using Double might not be quite the same as talking to somebody in person, but it's the closest alternative to the real thing. With more people in the workforce choosing to work remotely and more companies embracing this trend, tools like Double can help people stay connected.

Blog post and photos courtesy of Nora Inveiss, Printful

Double Robotics To Be Featured on ABC's The Bachelor!

Double Robotics will be featured on an upcoming episode of The Bachelor, currently celebrating its milestone 20th season. The episode will feature a special group date where several lucky ladies will test their love and compatibility using the Double Robotic product with the newest Bachelor, Ben Higgins.  This episode is scheduled to air Monday, January 11th, 2016, at 8/7c on ABC.

Ben Higgins, the handsome software salesman who was sent home by Kaitlyn Bristowe last season on The Bachelorette, confessed to Kaitlyn that he thought he was “unloveable.” Even so, he saw a great life with her, only to have his hopes dashed and his heart broken when he was left without a rose. Now, Ben is ready to open himself up again to love, but he still has lingering fears. He will attempt to put his heartbreak behind him and overcome those fears when he stars as the Bachelor and searches for his one true love. Follow Ben’s search for his soul mate in the milestone 20th season of ABC’s hit romance reality series The Bachelor, Mondays (8:00–10:01 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to be featured on ABC’s The Bachelor,” said David Cann, co-founder and CEO of Double Robotics. “It’s amazing to see primetime television shows interested in featuring innovative technologies, and we’re excited to be part of it.”

ABOUT DOUBLE ROBOTICS

Double Robotics is the creator of Double, the world’s leading telepresence robot. Double is an iPad-based robot that gives people a physical presence at work or in school when they can’t be there in person. Founded in 2012 and a graduate of the startup accelerator Y Combinator, Double Robotics is a privately-held technology company headquartered in Burlingame, California. Visit www.doublerobotics.com for more information.

ABOUT THE BACHELOR

On ABC’s hit primetime reality series The Bachelor, one lucky man is offered the chance to find true love. A single and eligible Bachelor embarks on a romantic journey, getting to know a number of beautiful women, gradually narrowing the field as he continues his search for his soul mate. At the end of this romantic voyage, if he has found the one, will there be a proposal — and will she say yes? Hosted by Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. For more information on The Bachelor, visit http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor.


Double Robotics Introduces Double 2

DOUBLE ROBOTICS INTRODUCES DOUBLE 2

Next Generation of Double Robotics Marks the Most Advanced Telepresence Robot Yet

Burlingame, Calif., January 6, 2016 - Double Robotics, creator of Double, the telepresence robot, today unveiled Double 2, the all-new model of its internationally-acclaimed telepresence robot. The new Double includes Lateral Stability Control, Power Drive, and Camera Kit, which are designed to increase spatial awareness for the driver and enhance the overall driving experience.

“The unveiling of Double 2 marks our deep commitment to our customers to make their experience with Double Robotics the best it can be,” said David Cann, co-founder and CEO at Double Robotics. “The three new features are a direct result of customer feedback. Our mission is to enable all types of remote experiences, and the introduction of Double 2 will help us work toward that goal.”

Lateral Stability Control

Double 2 introduces a transformative, patent-pending technology called Lateral Stability Control that allows drivers to traverse common office or classroom obstacles without losing balance. Lateral Stability Control is a shock absorption mechanism and advanced software algorithm that enables Double to maintain stability while crossing over cords, bumps, or a change in flooring.

Power Drive

Drivers can now go up to 80 percent faster than normal driving speed when Power Drive is enabled. By simply holding the Shift key, Double 2 can cruise at an average indoor walking speed of 1.6 miles per hour, an increase from 0.9 miles per hour on the first generation Double.

Camera Kit

The visual experience on Double 2 is even better with the all-new Camera Kit accessory. Camera Kit is an attachable camera with a 150-degree wide-angle lens that increases field-of-view by 70 percent on both sides. Along with a wide-angle lens, there will now be always-on Floor View, so drivers can see exactly what’s in front of them at all times. Photos will now be taken with a 5 megapixel HD camera, compared to the standard 1.2 megapixel camera.

Pricing & Availability

  • Double 2 and Camera Kit are available for order worldwide today, with same-day shipping available in some locations. Double 2 remains at the same price of $2,499 and Camera Kit is available at $249.

  • Double 2 and Camera Kit will be available in the US and through the company’s twenty-four authorized distributors worldwide.

  • Double Robotics will offer a package deal to include Double 2, Charging Dock, Audio Kit, and Camera Kit for $2,999.

  • Double Robotics is introducing the Loyalty Pricing Program by offering a 10 percent discount on Double 2 to all current customers, through February 29, 2016.

Another successful ISTE for the books!

Last week, we ventured to Philadelphia for ISTE, the annual education tech expo and conference hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education. We had a great time speaking with educators around the world and telling them about how our innovative technology is a game-changer in the classroom. Special thanks to our distribution partners ESSDACK & Symbaloo!

Till next year, ISTE!