Last year, we wrote about various ways to accomplish work without traveling, saving resources and money. One option, the virtual meeting, has become more commonplace as technology has made it more accessible and easier to use. But business travel is often motivated by the benefits of face-to-face interactions, some of which are too hard to replicate in a conference room with static screens. What about technology to facilitate less formal interactions, like meeting people in a new office or chatting near the water cooler?

Double Robotics has introduced a relatively inexpensive device that turns an iPad into a telepresence robot. The lightweight “Double” is meant to allow users to interact with colleagues more naturally. A user can navigate around an office, going from meeting to meeting and stopping in the halls to talk. This means that Double’s functionality gets closer to providing the benefits of face-to-face interactions, without the resource use associated with traveling. What do you think – is it close enough?

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