Cisco’s Telepresence conferencing system is as close to being there without being there. The highly-touted (and expensive at $300,000 a pop) technology is prety amazing. Voices are in synch with the video. The folks on either side of the table are life size and natural. Even the conference table in one room melds into the three large plasma screens where you fellow but remote conferees are sitting. I had a chance to demo TelePresense, primary developer of whom is Michael Dhuey, a DN 2007 Engineer of the Year finalist. It’s amazingly natural. Your eyes follow those of the folks on the screens just as if they were in room. One conferee in San Jose (I was in Cisco’s Chicago office) asked me if I had been house painting. Indeed, I had, he picking up a small speck of white paint on my right hand. The only wierd thing is that I felt as if I was being watched. Indeed I was, but that’s something I could get over quickly. Check out the demo.
Better yet, the DN cover story in our October 22 issue about Telepresence, which is getting a lot of attention. The potential for this technology with dispersed engineering teams is enormous (hence, our statement on the cover "how to get back at the airlines"), but what do you think?
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
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