TechCrunch | The Ohmni home robot wants to help families stay in touch with telepresence

Apr 18, 2017 | Articles, Content

Home robotics is an area of intense interest, with many large companies exploring how they might best address the potential market. Bosch subsidiary Mayfield Robotics has Kuri, and automakers including Toyota and Honda have their own approach, which a focus on independence for people continuing into our senior years. Startup OhmniLabs thinks that human connection is what will convince people to bring robots into their home, and their first robot, Ohmni, is built with bringing people together in mind.

The Ohmni is a home robot that might look familiar if you’ve ever been in a meeting room or attended a conference where there was also a telepresence robot present. It’s basically a display with a built-in camera sitting atop a tall shaft, with a base that includes a flat platform and wheels for getting around. Those are powered by brushless motors, which OhmniLabs says will result in very quite operation, and the whole thing folds down for easy carry-on capabilities, weighing just 20 lbs in total so that most people can easily pick it up should they need to do so.

Ohmni is also designed around ease-of-use: The whole point of the project is to seamlessly bring together families and friends separated by large distances, so OmniLabs focused a lot of effort on making it usable out of the box, without any complicated computer-based setup required. In fact, you can even have Wi-Fi network credentials pre-installed so it’ll connect out of the box, something the OhmniLab team can pre-program without a human ever seeing your SSID name and login.

The robot itself is also 100 percent remote-controlled, and has autodocking functionality for finding its charging station and plugging in when it’s running low. The display head of Ohmni also tilts, giving you a floor-to-ceiling, and more natural interaction options.

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