Suitable Tech: Beam Plus

Beam Robot

From the Tech-enhanced Life Resource Database:

Tools for improving the quality of life as we grow older — shared by the Tech-enhanced Life community.



Suitable Technologies offers a rolling telepresence device which allows for visiting an elderly parent or friend from afar. Undoubtedly not a replacement for an in person visit, this does help provide a friendly visit and valuable knowledge about how a person is coping with the changes that come with aging.

Update 2020: Suitable Technologies has been acquired by BlueOcean Robotics, and we can no longer figure out where one might acquire this product, or even if you can.

From the website:

Be heard. Be there. Beam there

Visit with friends and family naturally. Beam+ is designed for remote presence: be seen and heard perfectly while you're there.

Let your relatives visit you

Set permissions to control who visits, and when. Grandma has access to drop in after dinner to see the kids, your sister may stop by to catch up after bedtime, and you give yourself full access to beam home any time.





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Discussion and Reviews


from John Milford (member) at March 02, 2014

This technology makes long distance virtual visits with aging parents and friends possible and as affordable as a laptop computer. The benefits are obvious, but there is a question as to whether our harried lives will cause us to substituete a virtual visit for an in-person one when given the choice.



from Richard-Caro (member) at March 02, 2014

I really like this idea of the roaming telepresence robot in the house of your elderly parent. Seems like it would allow much more meaningful "visits" than just a telephone call.

I have been looking for something like this for a while and there are several competitors out there. For example, Double Robotics.

However, at least for me, I feel $2K is a bit steep for this particular use case. But it is getting close to the right price, and presumably time will bring it down.



from Richard-Caro (member) at March 02, 2014

The other challenge with all these telepresence approaches is the need for relatively high speed internet connections. The specs for this product say it needs 2Mbps up and down. This is fairly fast. My internet connection would qualify most of the time. But my mother's would not.

In contrast, Facetime works quite well with a much slower connection speed. Perhaps with time the robots will also be able to use slower connections. This will be pretty critical for wider adoption in my opinion, as a world where all elderly people have 2Mbps upstream connections seems a bit far off to me.


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Tech-enhanced Life Resource Database

This is one of hundreds of products and resources in the Tech-enhanced Life database of "useful products and resources".

The theme of this collection of resources is "tools we can use to help improve our quality of life as we grow older".

We have no vested interest in any of these products or services, but we have collected descriptions of them, and organized them according to various themes relating to the challenges of aging — so older adults and their families can find useful products they do not yet know about. 

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Listing type: 
Product or Service
Filed as: 
Communication or social tools, Gadgets and widgets
Key words: 
robot, telepresence, visiting, monitor