7 Day Old Baby Meets Telepresence Robot Dad

A remote-controlled telepresence robot was used by Army Staff Sgt. Erik Lloyd to see and interact with his family and seven day-old son. The (rather good-looking) camo-enhanced device has a live video uplink and responds to remote control.


(RP-7 telepresence robot impersonates a military man)

This technology has been around for quite a while (see the InTouch Companion: Medical Rounding Robot for a 2004 example), but this is the first time I've heard about it being used by distant dads to interact with their families.

I'm just a tiny bit creeped-out at the prospect of this being the first interaction that a 7 day-old has with his father. However, it presents mostly the face and voice of the father, which is what the child will probably focus on. Also, there's no doubt that it provides a means for the dad to be a part of the stateside family life.

I prefer the more spartan HeadThere Giraffe Telepresence Robot for this particular usage; it has a kind of "mirror, mirror on the wall" look to it that seems more like a display and less like a person.

And if you really wanted to blow the kid's mind, I'd appear as the Robonaut Centaur, because you could use it to actually hold your new son. I can just hear him a year or two later - "My dad has wheels and superpowers - how about your dad?"

Telepresence robotics has a long history in sf; see the telepresence apparatus, a one-hundred year-old reference.

Via DefenseLink, thanks to Moira for the tip.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/23/2008)

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