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OhmniLabs launches ‘first’ open telepresence robotics platform

OhmniLabs, a Silicon Valley-based robotics company, has launched what it claims is “the first open telepresence robotics platform”. 

Called the Ohmni DevKit, the tools are designed to enable faster, cheaper, and easier development of custom robotics applications built on top of telepresence.

The new Ohmni DevKit is based on the affordable, production-grade Ohmni telepresence robot and is designed for maximum hardware and software extensibility. 

Any developer can plug in custom hardware (such as Arduino-based electronics, servos, lights), as well as their own USB devices.

The newly launched in-call Ohmni API makes it easy to remotely control these devices, with no networking, signaling, or cloud development required.

With Ohmni coding framework for robotics, developers can build rich, interactive HTML5/CSS/JS overlays to Ohmni’s browser-based calls that can send and receive commands in real time with Ohmni and your custom devices.

Ohmni DevKit includes:

  • 1x Ohmni Dev Edition – ROS dev libraries and modules preinstalled
  • 3D printed mounting bracket kit – attach your devices anywhere on Ohmni
  • Arduino-based flashlight sample module and reference design
  • Arduino power + serial adapter kit
  • Arduino libraries and reference code for packet bus

Jared Go, co-founder and CTO of OhmniLabs, says: “The future of telepresence is richer interactions with the remote environment.

“Our customers love the core Ohmni telepresence experience and often come up with creative ideas which require customizations, such as adding medical devices and sensors, ways to emote like getting a hug, or high power LEDs for nighttime patrol.

“Our goal is to make this simple with the Ohmni DevKit. We’re excited to enable these explorations and can’t wait to see what innovations are created.”

Features of the new Ohmni DevKit:

  • Easy to extend Ohmni’s browser telepresence UI with your own custom overlays
  • No need for network development, infrastructure, or signaling
  • Leverage Ohmni’s hardware accelerated HD audio/video codecs
  • Full ROS support
  • Plug and play support for 3rd party electronics and hardware, i.e. Arduino
  • Ability to add your own USB devices, such as depth cameras
  • Ohmni OS built on top of open frameworks like Android 7.1
  • Modifiable, standard Linux kernel makes it easy to add device support
  • Easy to build and deploy using Ohmni cloud robotics development framework
  • Customizable height between 4’8″ and 4′ tall for natural interaction

Professor Maja Matarić, founding director of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center at USC, says: “We were looking for a development platform for our research and nothing suited our needs until we discovered OhmniLabs.

“We are in the process of using a pre-release version of their SDK to augment the interactivity of telepresence calls with custom hardware and software.

“OhmniLabs’ open platform allows us to conduct specialized telepresence research at a lower cost than competing systems.”

The Ohmni DevKit will start at $2,500 with additional modules and accessories being added over the coming months.