It looks like the Telecommunicator T1 may have some competition in the “wearable robot” category. Unveiled publicly at Interaction 2011 (March 11th), TEROOS was built using commercially available servos and 3D-printed parts designed by researchers at Keio University’s Anzai-Imai Lab and ATR’s IRC lab. It takes telecommunication to the streets by slinging over your shoulder any time you go out. A simple PC interface displays a live video feed (through Skype) and sends commands to the robot through a cellphone connection that communicates instructions over Bluetooth. The operator can look around by tilting and panning the robot’s head, converse through the built-in microphone and speaker, and even make simple expressions like blinking.
“With video chat, people can communicate face to face over a long distance. But the problem is that going out or shopping together can prove difficult. 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. This can provide an experience just like going shopping or having a date with the other person.”