Lasers Engaged: Anybots Are Now Shipping

Start your laser beams, it’s time to turn into a robot.

No, seriously. After years of development Anybots, the startup that builds remote-controlled roving robots, is shipping its first devices to consumers. Customers who pre-ordered their robots will start getting their orders this week, and Anybots will begin filling orders placed today in March.

If you haven’t heard of or seen an Anybot before, check out the video below, which we shot last summer in at TechCrunch headquarters. In it, our own Michael Arrington takes control of one of the robots and explores its features — he drives it around the office, runs into my legs a few times (the robot has a gentle touch because of its object avoidance system) and shoots his low-power laser beam at one of Anybots’ lead engineers.

Of course, most people who use Anybots will probably have more serious matters to attend to. The robots are designed to allow executives and employees to wander around their workplaces remotely, and it comes equipped with both two-way video and audio so you can hold conversations with coworkers. The units can be controlled by multiple people (not at the same time, obviously), so you can have different employees popping in and out of the robot all day long.

At $15,000 per unit this isn’t a toy — but it’s still pretty damn fun, and it’s one of those things that makes you remember we’re living in the future. Also, you’ll be in good company: DST’s Yuri Milner used an Anybot to remotely announce the $150,000 investment he and SV Angel will be making in every Y Combinator company.