Linux-powered telepresence robot gets personal

Suitable Technologies is accepting 1,000 pre-orders at $995 for Beam+, a smaller, less costly, consumer model of its Linux-powered “Beam” mobile telepresence robot. The remotely-piloted Beam+ bot, which can be controlled via a WiFi or a 4G LTE cellular connection, runs the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) plus low-latency Skype-like video conferencing software on top of an Ubuntu-based embedded Linux OS. The original Beam model was introduced about two years ago, and currently starts at $16,000 (not including charging dock). The new Beam+ consumer model will be sold for about $2,000 (including charging dock) after all the 1,000 specially priced pre-order units have been sold.