HP's Executive Avatars

Posted 24 May 2003 at 16:57 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

Afraid of getting SARS during business travel? Don't like to make those pesky conference calls or video conference calls. Airfare too expensive or are you afraid of flying? "Face to face" is the only way you do business? Well then, try HP's new robotic telepresence. Yes, you could have your own Avatar and be in two places at one time. Your surrogate avatar doppleganger could give a command performance in a conference room and let you virtually be there when you can't be there. The robot has a LCD screens to project images of your face and it can transmit and receive sound and video back to you via cameras and very sensitive microphones so you can hear those who are whispering about you or your avatar. The controller has a joystick so that you can direct your attention around the room. HP used to allow the avatar to move around the room, but for now they made it stay in one place, I guess they didn't want a klutzy avatar tripping around the conference room or crushing feet? The avatars are not for sale yet and no estimate on their price. It does have plenty of PCs, speakers, cameras and microphones and other stuff inside to make the price go sky high. If HP can convince executives they need a telepresence, then we may begin to see executives have bots in their boardroom?

More articles: Cnet: Bots to the boardroom, Business Week: Bots to the boardroom, Sci Fi Today: Telepresence in Business Meetings, Robots take strain out of executive meetings, Business Wire: Travel Robot.

Kinda big, posted 24 May 2003 at 18:27 UTC by ROB.T. » (Master)

Come on now, couldn't you have done that same concept in a robot that fits in a 1 foot cube?

Maybe a 3 inch cube, you could have mini-meetings... have your mini-me call my mini-me, we'll do teli-lunch...

What a target..., posted 24 May 2003 at 19:50 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

I'll bet that no one would ever think to hang a sign or otherwise deface one of these to heap humiliation and ridicule onto the person who thinks using one of these would be a good idea.

I'm thinking particularly about the sign on the glass door in the movie "Clerks".

video conference call, posted 25 May 2003 at 04:13 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

What's the difference between this thing and a video conference call anyway? About $10thou?

I mean they probably thought it would be cool to have an avatar that could wander around the room and point at stats on the wall and such, and then they started thinking of disasters and worst case scenarios and liability insurance and then decided to scale it back to an expensive video conference device. I think at some point they'll come to their senses and can the project.

Not very practical, posted 25 May 2003 at 07:44 UTC by motters » (Master)

Yes I think this is just a very expensive video conferencing system, and I can't see it catching on. It would be more practical just to stick a laptop on the desk.

Telerobots may be useful for other types of task such as inspection or working within hazardous environments.

Robotic telepresence? What a stupid idea, posted 26 May 2003 at 01:58 UTC by tafkaks » (Journeyer)

...and I should know.

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