Telepresence is a great tool that gives people the ability to be in far away places without having to travel. Telepresence robots like Double Robot are great tools for communication. However, they usually lack ways to interact physically with their environment. This reduces the autonomy and freedom of movement of robot users. This way, telepresence is limited to “movement through the remote location”, lacking the impression of a physical presence at this remote location. OutReach as “the art of being there” is challenging this limitation.
OutReach is a solution that plays to the strengths of these robots. By adding remotely controlled actuators to light switches, elevator buttons, or any other controls in a given environment, OutReach provides a way of interaction with the remote environment.
The telepresence robot serves as a relay between the online user and the physical actuators so that only close-by actuators (activating real, physical, already existing buttons, sliders, switches…) can be used. That makes it easier for robot users to find the controls that are important to them. It also keeps the robot environment secure from attacks because the actuators don’t need to be exposed to the internet.
Read more about OutReach and The Ars Electronica Futurelab Ideas Expedition on the Ars Electronica Blog: