Robotics Solutions for the Real World

Telepresence Robot
Telepresence lets people project themselves into a robot's body and be at places they cannot make. Different from video conferencing, telepresence enables the human to move about and look at things from different angles and perspectives. However, commercial robots are way too expensive. We propose a much cheaper platform with pointing capabilities.
Robot Tutor and Companion
Wouldn't it be great if a robot can teach your children math or writing, and answer their questions about geography and history? What if the robot can even play board games or hide-and-seek with them? Add to the list telling jokes and stories, singing and dancing, and drawing,  now we have a wonderful companion (given it will stay in one piece).
Robot for the Elderly
A robot can help monitor an elderly's health status, read the news or type letters for the elderly, go on a walk together, be a conversation partner, and reminding the elderly to take medication. It provides peace of mind for remote relatives while the elderly enjoys independent living. It also encourage the elderly to exercise both the body and the mind.

iRobot's Create robot is an affordable mobile platform that includes many sensors and actuators.

Microsoft's Kinect is the best deal for a depth camera. It also has directional microphones and a tilt motor.