QB is a remote presence robot that you can control over the Internet from anywhere in the world. You drive it around and are able to see what it sees, talk with people, and look like a tall, skinny alien.
Did you know?
The mother of video game entrepreneur Richard Garriott used a QB to attend his wedding in Paris in 2011; the robot was decked out in a cardboard cutout of mom.
QB was an early telepresence robot developed by Anybots in Mountain View, Calif. Trevor Blackwell, one of the cofounders of Y Combinator, founded Anybots in 2001 because he couldn't believe "there still weren't robots helping around [my] home and office." Anybots aimed to commercialize teleoperated humanoid robots that could perform useful tasks at remote locations. At Anybots, Blackwell and his colleagues built Monty, a teleoperated humanoid robot with dexterous hands that he could control with wearable sensors. The Anybots QB, however, didn't have arms. It consisted of a two-wheeled mobile base that balanced like a Segway and carried a pole with the robot's head mounted on it. The head had a small display, a camera, and an eye that shot a laser—for pointing at things. In May 2010, Anybots began offering QB, priced at US $15,000, for sale on its website, describing it as a robotic stand-in for workers who could be at the office by "robocommuting."