Updated: Jul 18
Understanding what Avatar robots can achieve for their operators begins with defining presence and telepresence.
The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.
Technology that enables a person to perform actions in a distant or virtual location as if physically present in that location; also: the practice of using such technology in the remote operation of a machine (such as a robot).
As humans, we strive to be present, and to have a sustained experience of where we are and what we do. But we cannot always be everywhere we want to be.
Operators were nonetheless able to interact with real attendees, visit the exhibit hall, and attend poster sessions even though these robots couldn't sense touch. They were tele present at the conference, and both individuals who used the robots and those who interacted with them in person at the event had positive things to say about their experiences.
With the use of current technology, such as video calls and basic telepresence robots (think of the screen-on-wheels systems that are popular today), we can extend our presence to other locations, but these methods do not allow for touch. The extension of ourselves that a real avatar affords allows for the transmission of touch as well as other bodily sensations and talents is a more complete version of ourselves. Thus, an Avatar robot provides a more realistic and engaging telepresence experience. When executed properly, it might almost resemble teleportation.
So, what does an Avatar robot do?
An avatar offers the opportunity to convey ourselves and our senses without moving, acting as an extension of the human body. Imagine what would be possible if you had the capacity to relocate your presence to a remote location where you could share your knowledge and experience and utilise it to interact with those in your immediate environment.
Avatars are setting the new standard for telepresence.