A telepresence robot (also known as virtual presence robots or remote presence robots) is a smartphone, tablet, or computer-controlled robot which allows those who engage with it to view and hear the robot’s operator while the operator can view what the robot is “looking” at, as well as hear the sounds at the robot’s location. In short, a telepresence robot provides you with a remote presence; short of touching items, so you can be present wherever and whenever you wish to be. For example, instead of having a static view of participants (as with Skype and other video conferencing applications), the operator of the robot is now able to control what they wish to see, as opposed to needing someone to point a camera at a particular person.
Many robots come equipped with such features as laser pointers, zoom capabilities, and autonomous navigation or enhanced communication and convenience. With this total control of the robots, users can view and interact with remote environments, whether hospitals, homes for the elderly, manufacturing plants or warehouses. All that needs to be done is turning the robot on and providing it with an internet connection, saving users time and thousands of dollars in travel expenses.
The remote presence capabilities provided by telepresence robots enable surgeons to assist peers at different locations across the globe, business owners to view store or warehouse setups or assembly line processes, sick children to attend classes and interact with their classmates, doctors to interact with patients while not on location and even something as simple as allowing grandparents to watch their grandchildren while they play, miles away.