Telenoid Is Here To Feel Caller's Presence

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By Nagesh Narayana | August 2, 2010 7:37 AM EST

Move over videoconferencing, here comes tele-replica of the person in a meeting room in your office, reflecting the gestures and actions of the caller.

Wherever the honcho may be -- probably in a faraway place -- the robot will make you feel his presence near you. Named Telenoid R1, the robot was developed by a group of Osaka University researchers in association with the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute.

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University who has created the Telenoid R1 robot says it "transmits the presence" of the caller. The robot is 31 inches long and weighs 11 pounds and looks like Casper the friendly ghost.

Essentially, the robot will repeat the speech and gestures sent by video-phone by the distant caller. A sensor from the caller's end will transmit sounds and actions of head, face and arms to a robot at the receiver's end to create the feeling of the caller's presence.

In a couple of demonstrations, a grandchild's call to his grandfather was replicated and a doctor's question to an old man was repeated by the robot with reflecting the same gestures.

Developed to cater the aging population of Japan, the robot is likely to provide them company. However, the developers have preferred not to provide any hair to the robot to make it look neither young nor old and keep it gender-neutral.

The price tag will be in the range of 700,000 yen ($8,090) for retail sale and 3 million yen ($34,675) for research purposes, said media reports.

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