double robotics shippingMade-in-the-USA Double Robotics is now shipping its innovative new telepresence robots.

The Y Combinator-backed startup officially launched in mid 2012 with a Segway-like telepresence robot that balances on two large wheels, uses any iPad as its screen and eyes, and rests on a smart kickstand when not in use. And, of course, lets you virtually visit locations, participate in remote meetings, and show your smiling face to distant colleagues.

“We’ve begun shipping production units,” cofounder David Cann told me via email today. “In fact, we’ve already shipped the first 100. We’ll ship another 1,000 units by September.”

That’s good news, Double Robotics said, not just for themselves, but also for hardware startups in general. There was a significant amount of skepticism that a $20,000-$40,000 Y Combinator-style investment would get the hardware company up and running, but Double Robotics was able to generate enough interest — and $1.2 million in presales — to pull off what would have been seen as impossible just a few short years ago.

“Now that Pebble, FORM 1, Oculus Rift, and Double have all begun shipping, I think it’s clear that hardware startups are legit and here to stay,” Cann says.

There’s one more bit of good news for anyone who wants a telepresence robot.

Nasa CIO using a Double Robotics telepresence robot to attend a conference.

Above: Nasa CIO using a Double Robotics telepresence robot to attend a conference.

Image Credit: Double Robotics

To celebrate the shipping milestone, Double Robotics is extending the pr-order pricing of $1,999 for one more week. That preorder pricing was low at least partially to cover the perceived risk of buying something that was not yet shipping — a problem that no longer applies. After June 6, however, pricing will jump up to $2,499.

Using a telepresence robot just helped NASA CIO Dr. Sasi Pillay — stranded in Washington, D.C. due to federal budget sequestration difficulties — attend the CIO Leadership Forum in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Who could have guessed that a national budget crisis would be a smart startup’s marketing opportunity?

Image credits: Double Robotics

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