Most telepresence robots are geared toward providing the user with a remote presence in the workplace or home. TEROOS, a shoulder-mounted telepresence robot developed by researchers at Keio University and elsewhere in Japan, is making telepresence more of a social experience.
Video chat, the robots creators say, is great for stationary exchanges between two people, but what if you want to do some long-distance antiquing or go on a long-distance date? “With this system, the person who’s going out carries an avatar on their shoulder, so the other person can operate the avatar to look around freely,” the demonstrator explains in the video below. “This can provide an experience just like going shopping or having a date with the other person.”
See, you carry TEROOS around on your shoulder but someone else controls it, using its built-in camera, microphone, and speaker to look around and communicate with the wearer. Communications and commands are relayed via a smartphone, which is passed to TEROOS via Bluetooth. Skype handles the audio/video exchange between TEROOS and its remote operator.
We’re not exactly sold on the dating aspect, even if some effort has been taken to make the eyes lifelike (the operator can change the “facial expression” by clicking on a variety of expressions in the control software). Besides, what couple wants to feel like they are attached at the shoulder? Still, it’s a neat little robot and could provide a nice social outlet for those with limited mobility.