Porta-Person Remote Conferencing Stand-In

The porta-person may be part of the answer for people who spend a lot of time working remotely. The porta-person is Sun Microsystem's response to the problem of helping people who telecommute or who must attend meetings from a different location.


(Porta-Person teleconferencing technology)

The porta-person prototype is essentially a box that can "sit" at your place at a conference table. If you have a video link, your picture can appear on its screen. If you don't have enough bandwidth to present your own face, the porta-person can show a cartoon face. As you speak, the lips of the cartoon character synch with your own.

Microphones and state-of-the-art audio systems let the remote participant hear the general direction from which sounds come. The porta-person can also be swiveled to face a particular person, or part of the room. The remote participant can view a selection of images showing conference attendees as well as presentations.

"We are trying to give those remote people a real tangible presence in the meeting room," says Nicole Yankelovich, a principal investigator at Sun who led development of the porta-person as an as-yet-unpublished outgrowth of the company's collaborative-environments research. Otherwise, "people are second-class citizens; they get forgotten about."

Sun is, of course, not alone in developing options for the remote teleconferecer. The award-winning Pebbles teleconferencing robot allows sick children to not only attend classes, but actually move through the halls, piloting the Pebbles robot remotely.

These devices remind me of an early science-fictional precursor - the "Arr-two" remote-control robots used in the 1981 novel Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. In the novel, Chief Engineer Tony Rand needed to be several places at once in an enormous construction site:

He had to follow the minutiae, because he didn't know what would turn out to be vital.

That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely through Todos Santos under Rand's direct control.
(Read more about Niven and Pournelle's Arr-two robot probes)

Story via MIT Technology Review; read more about the Pebbles robot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/15/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'

Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.

Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'

Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.

Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'

Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'

Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.

Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'

Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'

Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'

Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.