This is so cool! Virtual Interpersonal Interaction

I am robot…? I am telecommuter.

I bought a copy of the Economist for reading on the plane. I read about HP’s attempts to develop Virtual Telepresence so workers wouldn’t have to commute thousands of miles. The technology can be applied as a virtual interactive environment/room or as a personal mobile unit. Looks like Cisco is actually using some of this technology today in the form of a Telepresence room. It’s not cheap at $350,000 a room and $18,000 a month for maintenance, but still they claim that it’s cut down costs for transatlantic and long-distance flights.

If you visit HP’s site you can get a glimpse of one of their personal mobile units. When you use this unit, your image and voice travel around via a little robot on wheels. You can see everything via the semi-panoramic cameras on top of your virtual head. Now, I think this is pretty cool looking because it looks like it rolled off of Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil, but I can see that some people might find it aesthetically unappealing and impersonal or just plain weird. Okay, I’m a geek and I’m the first to admit it, and while the technology posted here is a bit clunky looking still I really appreciate the work and effort that went into pushing this concept forward.

http://www.hpl.hp.com/research/mmsl/demonstrations/etravel.html

telecommuterfuturesm.jpg

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2 Responses to “This is so cool! Virtual Interpersonal Interaction”


  1. 1 Alvin September 2, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    ok…it’s not really cool. it’s a bit scary for me. 😐

  2. 2 nkilkenny September 3, 2007 at 1:23 am

    I agree it is a little freaky looking. I think they need their anthropologists and psychologists to work on some of the ‘humanistic’ and ‘anthropomorphic’ issues with the aesthetic and design. I do like the idea of a teleconference room that allows me to synch up my time and get to work with colleagues overseas or on the other side of the country (not that I need it now, but I do know many people who do). Anything that saves on travel time and allows good and talented people to still contribute to developing good products without sacrificing their homelives and time with their families. The only thing that would be missing is a virtual whiteboard and display….where I could contribute in my room and my colleagues could in theirs. But I’m a dreamer who looks for different new solutions… always will be :).


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