Innovative or just plain creepy?

Earlier this year at the Innorobo conference a unique and strange child-size telepresence robot was on display. The Telenoid is another attempt by Japanese researcher Prof. Hiroshi Ishigoor to demonstrate tele-existance. An attempt to convey both emotion and movement through technology. I can appreciate the idea of what Prof. Ishigoor is trying to accomplish, but a robotic clown would be much less creepy than the alienesque form it currently has. The Telenoid is controlled via face tracking software to capture the users body language. At just over 10 lbs and 2.5ft in length, it has limited movement with its head, neck, and arms. There is just enough mobility to offer virtual hugs. If the Telenoid alone isn’t enough, there is a pint sized cousin called the Elfoid. This pocket sized humanoid is designed to be hand-held and is nearly identical in function, albeit with less movement. For me, they seem a bit too high on the weirdness scale, and more alien like than human or robotish. I have images of a factory like the one in “The Matrix” where future generations of robots grow these to power their existance. Tele-existance is an interesting idea, but this is a horrible execution, not much different that the MH2 I wrote about earlier.

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