Shelbot (aka Shel-bot)

We’ve been fortunate to get a lot of press coverage since we launched last September. One thing that we always find amusing is that, without fail, a commenter will claim that we stole the idea for Beam from Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory.

We find this amusing because, well, we made the “Shelbot.”

Suitable engineers with the cast of The Big Bang Theory

Suitable engineers with the cast of The Big Bang Theory

In 2010, when we were still part of Willow Garage, Warner Brothers contacted us about using one of our prototype systems in an episode they were writing on remote presence. The biggest surprise to us was that they wanted to run the whole thing live–not staged or prerecorded. They wanted it to look completely authentic, and as though Sheldon had actually built it himself. (Mission accomplished, evidently.) We had a couple of our engineers on the set, and everything went smoothly.

The system used to produce the episode is actually in the Warner Brothers museum in Hollywood.

So the next time you hear someone compare Beam to the Shelbot, you know the rest of the story!