If you're keen on the idea of teleporting yourself into a distant robot body, French software maker Gostai is introducing a line of telepresence robots that run on a 3G connection in addition to Wi-Fi.
That means you can drive your robot avatar down the Champs-Elysees, if you so fancy.
Or anywhere with 3G service and flat surfaces, for that matter. But the Jazz bots are mainly for use in one location. They're Web browser-controlled, wheeled machines designed to project a user into a distant place.
The Jazz contraptions are about 3 feet tall and have two-way video and audio for interaction (the video below lacks sound, however). They can operate continuously for at least five hours, and will automatically dock when piloted to within a few feet of their charging stations.
They come in three varieties: the Jazz Connect, for meetings and general interaction, the Jazz Icon, which can act as a marketing machine at trade shows (and serve refreshments on a tray), and the Jazz Security, which can detect movement and patrol autonomously.
The Icon is also available for rent from around $2,350. The Jazz base price of $10,400 is considerably less than that of the $15,000 QB telepresence machine from California-based Anybots; it will be interesting to see how much Willow Garage's Texai robots will go for when they hit the market.
Telepresence is still a nascent field, but Gostai is already known for its Urbi robotics software platform.
With 3G connectivity, there really should be an off-road version of the Jazz series. In avatar form, you could roll to your local park, get some fresh air and generally freak people out. Well worth the ten grand.