If you have been trying to find the perfect photographer to take your Instagram pictures, Facebook might be the solution. Last Tuesday, Facebook was awarded a patent for a self-balancing robot. It would include a microphone, a screen and, of course, a camera. Besides the ability to stand on either 2 or 3 legs, it might also carry cargo and control its own temperature with a cooling system. It would be like a telepresence robot. The market is already reacting to the news. Many envision how to use them but others also have serious concerns about them.
Although the company has not revealed yet what it will do with it, some speculations are going around. Most of them are related to what Facebook currently offers. In this sense, a robot like that could help to develop its video conferencing services. The robot could follow you everywhere at home during a conversation. It would also be capable to take pictures and videos to be used through all its social networks such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook.
The future of the robot
It is still too soon to predict the exact future of the robot because an awarded patent does not guarantee that the product is finally developed and offered to buyers. The market doesn´t seem to be ready to accept it and has not shown too much interest in it. In addition, it would be very expensive as other types of robots which are already being offered. The sums may reach several thousand dollars. However, it has not been an obstacle for some startups in Silicon Valley. They keep researching for new home robots which appeal consumers.
A Facebook-branded home robot also raises privacy concerns. The social network has already been attacked for the huge amount of data they collect through its platforms. As the robot would operate at home, it would also be able to collect additional information from its followers.
But telepresence robots could be used out of the home, too. A live broadcast of non-professional sports events could be an example of what they could do. Parents, coaches, and even the players would be able to broadcast their events. At least, it is the way the robotic professor Cristopher Atkeson imagines it. He is also clear about Facebook´s main purpose when he stated it is about telling and capturing stories.