Our World with Telepresence Robots: Interview with Morgan Andrews from SimpleBotics

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Today, we’re featuring an interview with Morgan Andrews, founder of SimpleBotics.com. At the young age of 8, Mr. Andrews began experimenting with small circuits. He was then introduced to robots by DK’s book, "Robot." Morgan soon began building his own robots. That book had sparked more than interest alone; it ignited what would become Morgan's career. Mr. Andrews founded SimBotics in 2010, but he altered the name and started the blog, SimpleBotics, in 2011. Not only does the blog discuss robots, but Andrews also demonstrates how to make robots.

Q: How will telepresence robots shape our future?

MA: These robots will make people lives easier. People can use them to communicate from long distances. If you can’t physically be somewhere, at a business meeting for example, you can just send the robot to take your place.

Q: What cultural effects will increased telepresence robot usage cause?

MA: People from different cultures will be able to communicate better. Telepresence robots will allow us to interact with other cultures more, making them seem less alien. However, this will slowly happen over years because more people would need to use the robots.

Q: Do you predict telepresence robots will become a form of social media?

MA: In some ways, yes. People use Skype to see each other and chat over the Internet. Telepresence robots could do the same thing, except they would be able to move around the person's environment.

Q: What industry do you see telepresence robots fitting into the best?

MA: I can see them fitting into the business industry. Robots like these could help out during meetings, conferences, etc.

Q: Telepresence robots are now becoming integrated into post-op patient care. How do you feel about hospitals using the robots?

MA: I think medical work should be done by human beings, not robots. It’s just my opinion, though. I believe humans would appreciate humans instead of robots. When the average person thinks of a robot, they sometimes think of them taking over the human race. That means that some people will be scared of them.

Q: Which telepresence robot do you think is the best one commercially available?

MA: Anybots QB has a nice design and is appealing to people. It's the one I have seen the most.

Q: What feature would be useful to add to a telepresence robot?

MA: I would love if the robot could actually follow you, autonomously. Instead of a fixed webcam, I would like it to move around completely, as if the person watching me was actually with me in person.

Q: If you had a telepresence robot, what would you use it for?

MA: I would use it to communicate with friends and family. I would probably use the robot during the holidays when some family members can’t come to our family’s gathering. Everyone would enjoy seeing each other.

Q: How quickly do you predict telepresence robots to be fully integrated into society?

MA: I think that it will take around 20-30 years for these robots to be totally blended into our daily lives. It will take a little more research, but we also need to have more people interact with robots to ensure they are comfortable with them. Andrews says he eventually hopes to start a robotics company that sells domestic robots to the everyday consumer. He also wants to produce military robots to save lives on the battlefield. He predicts an exciting future for robots. “Just like computers, this industry will burst into popularity and demand,” says Andrews.

We thank Morgan Andrews for sharing his thoughts on these up-and-coming robots. Keep up with more robotics news at SimpleBotics. Come back for our next interview with Tom Green, Editor-in-Chief of Robotics Business Review!

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