As we head into 2013, we're going to start a series of brief posts on the unique and interesting features of Beam--some big, some small, but all crucial in creating a true remote presence device. First up: Something we call "Push for Status." Suitable engineer Daiwei Li demonstrates the feature in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGOX3lxBKlw
This is an example of simplicity driving creativity. Beam remote presence devices have no input controls, other than a power button, because we believe the pilot should be in control of all device settings, not locals. This is an important part of giving the pilot autonomy and the ability to feel like an equal participant. If I can't turn your volume down, why should you be able to turn mine down?
However, we also wanted to provide an easy way for locals to see the status of a device, when it's not in use. So we came up with a unique solution: Give the device a soft push or tap. The screen comes on with status info, and turns itself back off after a short time.
Josh Tyler (@joshuatyler) Director of Software Engineering