Friday, August 17, 2012


Originally uploaded by ~db~

The TELExistence Surrogate Anthropomorphic Robot was by far the most exciting thing I saw at SIGGGRAPH this year. As presented it was a sort of robotic avatar, with a human wearing a large helmet equipped with stereoscopic displays and audio, plus haptic gloves which provided both pressure and temperature feedback.

In the demonstration, an operator sits in a chair, wearing the helmet and gloves. They see and hear the video and audio provided by the robot's cameras and microphones. As the operator moves, TELESAR mimics those movements in real-time, whether looking around, or reaching out to touch something. When the robot is offered a cup of water, the operator is asked to estimate how far away the cup is, and then to reach for it. He successfully grasps the cup and is able to determine the water inside is cold.

Additionally, the headset has a microphone, allowing the operator to speak through the robot's mouth, interacting with people (or perhaps other robot/avatars) in proximity to the TELESAR avatar. Indeed, after the demo, the audience is given several minutes to talk with the robot, which actually meant interacting with the human sitting a few feet away. Still, the effect was obvious and immediate. People weren't talking with the operator, they were talking with TELESAR.


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