The National Museum of Australia has implemented telepresence robot technology in order to teach children from different locations about Australia's history. The Museum Robot by CSIRO connects to the internet via broadband and allows for remote visitors to experience the interactivity of learning from a teacher in a teaching-environment. The effect is an immersive learning environment, where a full visual-auditory experience may make new information more palatable, and more easily retain-able. The robot is accessible to all Australian schools and libraries with a connection to the national broadband network. The estimated cost of the trials run with this robot was about $3.5 million, and was funded mainly by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, CSIRO, and the National Museum of Australia.
Now it is possible for children to have the experience of being in a museum, even if they would otherwise not have access to one. Not only can one receive and communicate audio and visual information, but one can also interact with objects in the environment and find out information about them. The robot is equipped with a panoramic camera on the receiving end, so the user can see the environment in all directions. It is also equipped with 3D mapping and sensor functions, as well as computer vision systems analysis, which makes remote interactivity feel more natural. This allows for more in-depth exploration of the environment using telepresence technology, making an engaging museum experience accessible from virtually anywhere. This robot has conducted trials in a museum setting, though the possibilities using the basic functions can be endless. This virtual telepresent tour guide through the Australian Museum marks the progression of a new age of learning, through outsourcing our presence robotic-ally to distant locations.
This is a fine example of how versatile the use of telepresence technology can be, when implemented in a proper way. The internet has allowed people from all over the world access to any information imaginable. Now, with the implementation of telepresence technology, it is possible to gain access to an even broader range of information. This technology can essentially allow us to directly export our intentions through computers, having a direct and immediate interaction with actual objects in remote locations.
Try it out here.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY CSIRO: The Robot is accompanied by a human educator, while the user from the remote end accompanies them on a tour guide throughout the museum.