Helios: $99 iPhone Telepresence Robot
Helios: $99 iPhone Telepresence Robot
Helios turns your iPhone into a telepresence device that brings your family, friends, and colleagues to you wherever you are.
Helios turns your iPhone into a telepresence device that brings your family, friends, and colleagues to you wherever you are. Read more
About this project
Mashable Video on Helios:
We have updated our FAQ section. Check it out at the bottom of the page.
Helios is the first telepresence robot that is affordable, portable, and mobile.
What is Helios?
With Helios, your iPhone transforms into a mobile telepresence robot. By placing your iPhone 4, 4S, 5 or iTouch into the “seat” of Helios, your family, friends and colleagues can stay in touch like never before, operating the device remotely so that not only can they see you, they can move with you – back and forth, left and right, and tilting up and down.
Can’t make your kids sit in front of a laptop? Want to see the entire
conference room? Want to spend time with those you love most?
Helios allows you to interact in a way you never thought possible at an
Helios isn’t simply about connecting, it’s about strengthening your
meaningful but distant relationships. Helios’ transformative hardware
and the accompanying app allows you to start changing how you
interact, crafting your experiences and transforming your presence.
Using Helios is easy:
Simply install our iOS app on your device, unwrap Helios from its packaging, and you’ve got everything you need! Open the app on your device, place it in Helios’ seat, turn the device on and, voila – a mobile telepresence device! To control Helios remotely, all you need is a browser and an Internet connection. Whether you are down the hall or around the world, controlling Helios is simple. Want to share control? Anyone on this planet (or any other!) can ask to share Helios provided an Internet connection and browser.
How should I use Helios?
The Cool Technology:
Using a device you already own, our Helios mobile base and iOS app creates a telepresence device you’ll never want to put down (well, except when you want to use it). When communication is established between a remote individual and the mobile app, the video signal is transmitted between the remote end browser and the iPhone. The control signal for the robot is transmitted from a remote Internet browser to the device sitting in Helios through either a 3G/4G network or Wi-Fi. This signal is then translated into a
series of black and white squares, not viewable when your device is
in Helios. These black and white patterns are then read by sensors in
the seat of Helios allowing for remote control without actually having to
connect the device to Helios. And just like that you can control Helios
remotely, moving it back and forth, left and right, and tilting your device
up and down.
The SDK Support:
You’re interested in building on our platform? Look no further than our SDK Support. Helios hardware is based on Arduino Nano and we will provide you with the original Arduino Code. Using this, you can build in additional sensors, actuators, motors, servos, or whatever you can think of to empower Helios to do more actions. You can even build extra hardware like arms, necks or, for the adventurous, even propellers (check FAA rules and regulations first, of course).
Our SDK Support also includes our iOS API. Not only can you build new
hardware for Helios, but you will also be able to build new apps for it!
Now it can have both arms and a personality. Our SDK Support will be available to everyone once we start shipping.
Development Process and Manufacturing
We are currently on the third iteration of Helios. The first model was developed during the Spring 2012 hackathon at Princeton University. This version was built on a tracked platform by Robotshop and took first place in the hardware category of the hackathon. After some problems with the tracked moving parts, the second version of of Helios was built on the Boebot platform. As our development of the hardware continued, we created the third and current version with the help of SeeedStudio, one of the largest electronics manufacturers in China. The current version employs personal electronic circuits in addition to a completely new body design, manufactured through CNC and 3D plastic printing. For larger volumes, we will use injection molding for all plastic parts, which also allows for a glossier look. As outlined, the pricing tiers represent actual manufacturing quotes from SeeedStudio.
I have a Bachelor and Masters degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Cambridge University, UK, and another Masters degree in Computer Science from Princeton University. I have worked on various projects involving robotics, networks and artificial intelligence.
Want to know something else? Get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tigerlabs: Bert Navarrete, James Smits, Savraj Singh
Design: Moo Kim
Videomaker: Jared Flesher
Hardware: Colin Ho
Music: Josh Woodward
Risks and challenges
Luckily, the majority of our research and development is complete and we have functioning prototypes. On the manufacturing side, we have established a partnership with SeeedStudio, one of the largest electronics manufacturers in China. Through our development to date, partnership, and time frame going forward, we believe that we deliver a high quality product at an affordable price.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes. There will be downward distance sensors at the 4 corners of Helios. When a sensor detects the edge of a table, it will stop the robot.
No. The version you will get comes with a seat that is wide enough to put in an iPhone with a case and a spring clamp to hold it firmly.
Helios is designed to use the iPhone internal speakers. This way, there is no reason to connect the headphone jack.
Our system is easily portable to Android, but it isn't in our plan by next February.
We use a rechargeable Lithium Battery. It can be charged through the charging dock or you can manually plug in the charging wire through Mini-USB. One charge provides up to 10 hours of operation time.
The Helios base weighs about 500 grams.
Nope! Helios reads control signals displayed on the screen of the smartphone placed in the seat allowing it to operate without physically connecting to the device.
Currently, Helios is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 as well as the iTouch 4.
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