NEC may commercialize a simplified version of their communication robot PaPeRo for use in teleconferencing. The robot could be made cheaper by reducing its functionality to the bare necessities. The remote operator controls the robot through their PC, and can swivel PaPeRo’s head to look in different directions during meetings. Like other telepresence robots, this improves on typical teleconference equipment by creating the impression of shared space with the distant operator.
Trials confirmed that people felt it was more natural and easier to communicate with the robot stand-in, which projects the operator’s voice and line of sight. NEC speculates that with the evolution of the internet and high speed communications, workers could jack in to the robot through their mobile devices from anywhere in the world. Multiple units spread across offices could save time and travel expenses and lead to more efficient sharing of information.
[source: Robonable (JP)]