The Mobile Virtual Presence Device (MVPD), is a robot that Sheldon Cooper built as protection from the dangers of life in "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification". The MVPD contains a webcam, flat panel display showing Sheldon live, loudspeakers, a mobility aid|mobility platform, and is decorated with one of Sheldon's shirts on a hanger.
Penny liked to refer to the MVPD as "Shelbot". Howard often cracked Star Wars-related jokes that Raj came up with, comparing Sheldon to R2-D2 (a character from Star Wars) such as, "Hey look, it's Leonard and R2-D-bag".
The inspiration for the Shelbot and the storyline for "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" was borne out of a June 12, 2010 article in the New York Times entitled "Merely Human? That's So Yesterday" and the accompanying video of Sergey Brin and Scott Hassan maneuvering a Texai telepresence device that was on loan from Willow Garage in Menlo Park, California.
The producer of the video piece was amused by the childlike engagement the participants gave in helping Sergey and Scott driving around the event. She chose to call the device the "Brinbot", which likely inspired the Shelbot moniker.
- Warner Brothers were not allowed to use the Texai device unless it 1) gave the lab editing rights for the script whenever the device was being discussed, 2) pay for delivery, travel and the staff to enable the device and 3) receive promotional consideration for the use of the Texai. Warner Brothers accepted all conditions stood firm on calling the Shelbot a "Mobile Virtual Presence Device". Today, Suitable Technologies calls the descendants of the Shelbot "Smart Presence Devices"
- The video shots of Sheldon in the screen of the Shelbot were all real and live - no green screen was used - only a color filter to match the designed color temperature.
- The Texai/Shelbot was one of a 25 prototypes that evolved into Suitable Technologies Beam Pro and Beam+ Smart Presence Devices. The Beam+ is available for purchase on Amazon in the US and various locations around the world.
- The original Shelbot was known as Texas Alpha 114 (TA114) and was on display in the Warner Brother's Museum until 2015, where it was returned to Suitable Technologies and now resides in the Suitable Retail Store in Palo Alto, California.
- Steve Wozniak signed the back of the two Texai - both the Shelbot and the partial device that was used in the car scene.