Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ten Dollar Telepresence Robot for the COVID-Safer Classroom

Remote Control Toy Car
with Smartphone Attached
While I had built a foot operated Zoom station for the COVID safer classroom, this still required the student to walk up to it. I had built a Zoom safe selfie stick, but that required the operator to walk around the room. It would be better to have everyone seated in the classroom or meeting room. One option is to use a telepresence robot: a remote controlled camera, screen and microphone. However, these units are expensive and have more features than needed. Instead I attached a smart phone to a $10 remote control toy car.

There are toy cars with Bluetooth remote control, allowing them to be operated by someone via an Internet connection remotely. However, for my purposes a cheaper wireless control was sufficient. I unscrewed the roof of the toy car, drilled a hole, inserted a spare tripod screw which came with a tripod and reattached the roof. I then screwed a smart phone clamp to the car. The car can be driven around to where the person who wishes to speak is.

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