Sprint plans to make robots that allow telecommuters to have a physical
presence in the office according to an article
on Network World Fusion. While you work at home, your robot self will
roll around the office greeting friends, going to meetings, and chatting
at the water cooler. You will see through its eyes and hear through
its ears as well as speak through it. A recent prototype of the
telepresence robot which is being developed by Sprint Labs was shown
at the NetWorld+Interop 2001 trade show.
It's interesting to watch the applications slowly come out for mobile
robots. At TNBT there's an interview
with Helen Greiner of iRobot, in which she talks about the use of their
$5000 toy for teleconferencing with added presence. Just can't wait to
see manipulation added, so your telepresence can actually do something
other than chat. Hmmm, telecommuting gophers? Sonys Aibo can now do
email, and a NECs R100 can do email, take messages, and do some IR
remote control stuff. But I want all that and bipedal motion. Just get
Hondas Asimo to move like Sonys SDR-3X and add the internet
capabilities and I'd be happy... at least until I think of something
else it should do...
What happens if your avatar falls over? :-) But really, I'd love to have an avatar just for the simple reason that I would like to stay home
and telecommute. Then again how long before we start having avatar races at work?