Research from Eric Paulos’ 20 year-old PRoP research group is still creating products! PRoPs are simple, inexpensive, internet-controlled, untethered tele-robots that strive to provide the sensation of tele-embodiment in a remote real space. Recently, OhmniLabs (a robotics startup based in Santa Clara, Calif.) launched a new consumer telepresence robot on Indiegogo called Ohmni, which is designed to be an accessible and affordable mobile telepresence robot.
In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, Jared Go, the Ohmnilabs co-founder and CTO says:
The moving neck along with our MotionMap technology is also key to creating biggest difference in experience. Driving around Beam and Double and interacting feels a lot like walking around with a neck brace on, which results in unnatural interaction. We studied this and notice in a lot of cases people will bend down or adjust their pose to look flat into screen, because the screen and camera can’t orient to look straight at them. People say that it’s really the moving neck that makes the product feel really human. The human brain is hardwired to sense attention so seeing what the remote user is exactly looking at has a tremendous impact. Being able to emote and nod too really gives the extra oomph to that feeling.