OK…. So recently I was watching “The Big Bang Theory”… it’s a show my kids like to watch… really. Sheldon, the slightly autistic character, had decided that he no longer wanted to interact with the world and wanted to remain in the “cocoon” of his room until he figured out how to prolong his life indefinitely. So work at home was absolutely in the cards for him.
His solution…. a remote control robot with a computer screen mounted to the top along with a camera that allowed him to see everything and everyone else to see him. Sounds crazy, right? Who would ever do that?
Well…. Flash forward just a few days. I received a copy of an article from the technology review entitled, “The Avatar Economy” from my buddy Steve Greenberg. According to this article Sheldon was, apparently, on to something.
Several companies, including VGo, iRobot, and Willow Garage, are now producing avatar robots specifically for remote work. They allow remote workers to perform “manual labor” and tactile type jobs. Of course connectivity is a problem, as it always is, but estimates are that once a robot can be connected via a 160 Mbps connection that the user would be able to be up to 1800 miles away and operate the Robot in real-time. Imagine some kid in Canada mowing lawns in San Diego. Or the owner of a salon in Los Angeles providing tinsel town haircuts to customers in Boise.
Here’s the part that really made me fall out of my chair. They all come with a screen mounted to the top that would allow all those your robot interacts with to see your face…. Just like Sheldon’s. I’m not sure what to think about this, but really like to know your thoughts.
I hope you find the Technology Review article interesting and I look forward to your feedback.