Hug your kid when you’re out of town with the Cushybot One telepresence robot

[The telepresence robot described in this story from Tom’s Hardware is designed to mimic human interaction for parents and children. The original story includes two more pictures and some of the robot’s technical specifications; see the Indiegogo page for much more information. –Matthew]

Hug Your Kid When You’re Out of Town With the Cushybot One Telepresence Robot

by Brittany Vincent
August 27, 2019

For children with long-distance parents, things can get a little lonely. Home robotics company Cushybots wants to change this with a new telepresence robot, the Cushybot One, launching today on Indiegogo.

The Cushybot One is an adorable robot kids can snuggle and hug while parents control it from afar to interact with their kids. It’s meant to help simulate a parent’s loving embrace, as if the parent were right in the room instead of across the country or even across the globe. It’s designed specifically for younger children who may not engage as readily during video chats, offering a better and more efficient way for parent and child to communicate and get some quality time in.

To accomplish this, the Cushybot One has controllable arms that let parents pick up toys, hug and interact with children in ways that were previously difficult to do, given the distance. It can also travel at up to 1.2 miles per hour (0.5m/s). Making things even simpler, the robot was designed with a non-technical user interface to keep it accessible and simple to use. Cushybot One is controllable via the PC or mobile (Android/iOS app).

Parents won’t need to rely on frustrating controls to make the robot’s arm move. Instead it’s controlled by the parent’s arm movements via included handheld controllers. In this, it’s meant to behave more like a character in a virtual reality game might. It includes a set of over 20 sensors (including an LCD touchscreen, 8MP HD camera with 160-degree field of view and 12 laser sensors) and is powered by Android.

The robot was developed with children’s safety at the forefront, with its hands and limbs calibrated to make sure the risks associated with interacting with the robot are kept low. It’s also built to be bolstered against remote hacking to protect user privacy.

“The Cushybot was born out of deeply personal problem for me, as I have a child that lives on a different continent and know firsthand the disappointing experience of trying maintain a relationship via video chat. The team and I wanted to create something that not only connects me with my child, but solves this issue for distant parents all over the world,” Cushybots founder Allen Tan said of the robot’s origins in today’s announcement.

Allen himself found it difficult to keep his children engaged when chatting via remote connection due to the limited amount of interactions between parent and child. With the possibilities of actually being able to reach out and hug your child and have them respond in turn, the Cushybot One has the potential to make these long-distance parenting relationships feel more “real” and tender to the kids involved.

Thinking about investing in one? Head over to Indiegogo when Cushybot is set to debut there, with prices starting at $765.


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