Facebook is the latest company to put forward its idea for a robot, which could help the company put all of the technologies it’s acquired over the last few years to good use.
Its self-balancing robot popped up at the US Patents Office at the beginning of January and although it’s not clear what the robot will actually do, the patent has revealed it will include a display screen, camera, speaker and microphones.
The patent explanation reads: “Technology is provided for a self-balancing robot that transitions from a three-wheeled mode to a two-wheeled self-balancing mode. The robot includes a body and a pair of drive wheels located at a first end portion of the body.
“Each drive wheel is coupled to a drive assembly operative to propel the robot along a surface. A third wheel is located on the body at a second end portion opposite the first end portion. A main arm is coupled to the body, wherein the main arm is rotatable to confront the surface and lift the third wheel away from the surface, thereby standing the body up onto the pair of drive wheels in preparation for self-balancing.”
The advantage of designing a robot that can adapt between a two and three-wheeled machine has a number of advantages. Although a two-wheeled bot is more humanoid-like, it lack the balance us humans have, so the addition of a third wheel would make it more stable. This means it could carry heavier loads than many other two-wheeled robots available on the market.
Of course, Facebook is investing a lot of time and money in robotic technologies, including AI and virtual reality, so it’s a possibility the social networking company is hoping to launch a rival to Pepper, the robot customer service representative.
Of course, Facebook is also one of the commercial drone pioneers, with its internet drones that aim to help get a connection to the remotest areas of the world.