Imagine seeing the world through the eyes of a mini telepresence robot perched on the shoulder of a friend miles away.
Japanese researchers at Yamagata and Hirosaki universities have been developing an experimental Wearable Telecommunicator that's operated by a remote user who can see, hear, and gesture through the shoulder bot and the Internet.
The video shows the simple robot being controlled by an operator wearing special goggles, and then an exchange in which he communicates with a remote pair discussing a soccer game.
The system provides a richer communication experience than a cellphone or Webcam, but it requires a a willing human carrier as well as a rather bulky backpack to mount the bot.
Hitching a ride on someone's shoulder would seem to solve the problem of building an expensive mobile robot body for telepresence purposes. However, it also raises a host of issues, including privacy. What happens when your carrier has to go to the bathroom?
It's unclear whether this Telecommunicator T1 system has been further developed since the video was produced, or whether the researchers have plans for commercialization.
I think the shoulder bot might look good disguised as a parrot, all colorful feathers and a beak. Perfect if your carrier pal happens to be a pirate.
(Via Plastic Pals)