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August 4, 2014

Inspector Buddy: the Windows Phone-powered robot

Last week, “Inspector Buddy”, by indie developer Robert Oschler, was awarded the grand prize for new civic applications in the 2014 Accela Construct App Challenge.

According to Robert, “Inspector Buddy is an affordable telepresence robot that keeps property inspectors safe.”

The application runs with the RoboMe robot, and when combined with a Windows Phone and tablet/laptop, you have a complete telepresence package. A home inspector can use the robot to take pictures and video that are automatically uploaded and attached to the main property inspection record.


Inspector Buddy’s priority is safety first

This remote-controlled robot can reach places humans cannot, ensuring more thorough property inspections and protecting the property inspector against potential injury while on the job.

“When I saw the Accela contest, I realized that there was a market for a telepresence robot to make the life of a property inspector safer and that I could adapt Nanabot to serve it,” said Robert. (We first wrote about Robert’s Nanabot project back in May.) “The robot saves the inspector from the dangers of potential snake and venomous spiders that can hide in attics, basements, crawl spaces and air ducts.”

He went on to say: “It can also allow them to safely inspect areas where there may be hostile cats or dogs. Since RoboMe is only a foot tall, it can fit into hard-to-reach places where the inspector can’t go, sparing the inspector from potential back or other physical injury.”

You can see the Inspector Buddy in action in this demo video that Robert prepared for the contest:


Inspector Buddy uses a pair of Windows Phone and Windows Store apps that integrate with Accela software. The project also supports the wearable V.BTTN Bluetooth controller for robot operations, and it can be operated using simple navigation controls found on the robot operations screen.


As Robert told us, “Inspector Buddy is an extension of Nanabot and springs from the same Windows Phone code base.”

To add pictures and video taken by the robot to the master property record for each building inspected, code needs to be added to interface with the Accela civic management platform. According to Robert, that integration work is underway now.

More information about Inspector Buddy is available on Robert’s website.

Create a Nanabot of your own

Want to get involved and start creating robotics projects for Windows Phone of your own? Robert has a funding project underway at this time, where you can get access to the software that you will need to set up your own Windows Phone – and Cortana – powered Robome robot. (The robot is sold separately.)

You can sign up for the Nanabot Developer project to get access to a private support forum for help with the open source RoboMe toolkit for Windows Phone, as well as access to other useful source code that Robert will provide before that code is made publicly available in an open source format. You can get started by purchasing the Nanabot – Developer award (at the $50 level).