A long-time purveyor of toys and robo-balls in their many forms, Sphero recently started to eye other applications for its robot technology, including machines designed to help first responders. The startup spun-off specifically to develop these kinds of machines earlier this year, Company Six, has now unveiled its first creation, a rugged, video-streaming robot called ReadySight that can be tossed into hairy situations.
Designing robots to venture into places that aren’t safe for humans is of course nothing new, but ReadySight is something of a departure for the engineers from Sphero. The company has previously graced our pages with Star Wars-inspired droids, educational robots and a whole slew of spherical bots that can be controlled via smartphone, but with key figures at the company hailing from military backgrounds, branching out into more serious applications was always in the offing.
“Making a small, portable, video enabled robot has really been a goal of our founding team since 2012 while we were at Sphero – but the networks and core technology simply were not ready,” says Jim Booth, CEO of Company Six. “Having used robots in the field while in the Army, they can be large, expensive and difficult to operate. What we’ve built is unlike any tool out there at a fraction of the price – truly to the point that they can be expendable if necessary.”
When the Company Six spin-off was announced earlier in the year, it said it hoped to “fundamentally transform the way first responders operate in dangerous environments,” and ReadySight is our first real taste of this vision.
Weighing one pound (0.45 kg), ReadySight rolls on what look like a couple of miniature tractor tires, enabling it to overcome rougher types of terrain and to turn sharply. The rugged robot is designed to be thrown into situations that are unsafe for humans, and uses both autonomous and semi-autonomous navigation while streaming video back to the user’s smartphone and giving them a look at the action from ground level.
Control comes via that same smartphone and streaming is facilitated over LTE networks. Company Six says this makes for “unlimited range,” while the robot also features a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, a sensor for navigating around objects and, in keeping with its rugged applications, a replaceable lens.
Beyond that, there aren’t a whole lot of technical details to go on just yet nor any word on pricing, though Company Six doesn’t plan to start shipping the ReadySight robot until the third quarter of 2021, so it is likely more will be revealed before then.
You can check out the promo video below.
CO6: Introducing ReadySight
Source: Company Six