Yesterday one of the students of our Eurotech University course submitted an assignment with the description of a telepresence robot “in the simplest way possible”. Although the explanation is hard to translate from Estonian, it might (with minor modifications) make a great introduction for a scientific article. So, here comes the “Telepresence Robots for Dummies” by Siim Markus Kass:
The practice demonstrated that my initial hypothesis “Telepresence robots are some pitiful clothes hangers” appeared to be wrong. With all their drawbacks these gadgets have something in them and I learned how to find use for it.
I am totally aware that when the teacher reads this text, he won’t be too happy about it and will find many ways to change my mind, there in nothing bad in that, actually.
So, how do you explain what that mystical “telepresence robot” is to someone who’s totally clueless, like a grandma or little kid? Okay, picture this: it’s like a mop stick standin’ in a bucket, get it? Let the bucket have some wheels too. But wait, there’s more! Let there be a screen atop it. Not like a windscreen or smth, but kinda TV screen, you following? And the best part is you can send it places you don’t really feel like goin’ yourself.
Ain’t feelin’ like kickin’ it with your buddies? No bother, just have them pull out the robot from a closet and you can show up to the party without even leaving your crib. How does it work? To be honest, I ain’t totally sure, ask the teacher or somethin’. But from what I can tell, you gotta turn on your computer, click some link, turn the camera and mic on, and then you can use gamer keys or arrows to move the robot around like you’re right there in person. Don’t get pissed off, the robot is kinda clumsy, you’ll get used to it. And just in case you still ain’t gettin’ it, I drew a little sketch for you.