Posted by: crudbasher | November 7, 2011

Telepresence Robots Drop In Cost, Improve In Performance

It’s fascinating to watch the labor market evolve. A simple innovation in technology can quickly be adopted in one industry, causing ripples of disruption in others you might not expect. Here’s a case in point.

Bell Labs has built a low cost system where a monitor is mounted on a robotic swivel. Their face shows up on it and they can remotely turn it to face in different directions.

As telepresence technology gets better and much cheaper it will be adopted widely as a way to have meetings without being physically present. What kind of ripples will this bring?

1. Travel – Airlines make a lot of their profit from business travelers. Businesses are aware of this expense and are using teleconferencing, and telepresence a lot more to reduce their costs. You then also need less rental cars, hotels and restaurants.

2. Medical – Medicine moves slowly because of the need to be physically present to talk to a doctor. With telepresence technology, doctors will be able to see many more patients, thus saving time.

That’s just the first two I can think of. Of course, I’m sure this technology won’t be used in Education. Somehow, that industry seems to be immune to innovation. 🙂

    • Videoconferencing ‘robots’ in development at Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm, Bell Labs, could give remote workers a more physical presence in office meetings within two years.
    • Researchers are working on a low-cost camera and screen that swivels on a set of robotic shoulders, and sits at a meeting table with physical attendees.

       

      Each so-called ‘Nethead’ represents a remote participant, who appears by video on the screen, and can control the direction the robot faces by naturally turning his or her head.

    • “We’re tending towards remote working, so we have to figure out how to solve that problem, and in a way, you can’t script it.
    • “Right now, the ability to work from home is a little dicey – the connection is not something you can depend on and the technology is not particularly great – but I think that all those things are just around the corner.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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