Sunday, September 27, 2009

Can't make it today--I'll send my robot

Bought the tickets and don't feel much like going? NTT Communication Science Laboratories have developed a robot with a head modeled on the shape of your own, including microphones just where your ears would be, that will sit in your seat and send an audio picture of a concert back to your headphones. A sensor in your headset measures the tilt of your head and has the robot follow suit. There are plans to develop a version with cameras, too.

Not to be spoilsports, but we can see a couple of problems with this idea, the main one being that a one-off personalised head presumably means that you need to get your robot to the concert somehow, which would be almost as much hassle as going yourself. A generalized version that would reshape itself to your measurements might be interesting, though: you could situate a few of them in the audience and sell "tickets" to watch the video/audio streams. A night at the opera in Covent Garden while you relax at home in Tokyo in, er, the early hours of the morning? In the future, all this will be possible.

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