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Robotics Hardware Technology

When a Robot Becomes the Life of the Party 36

theodp writes "The rich are different; the geek rich are different-er. The WSJ's Emily Glazer reports that when Richard Garriott de Cayeux threw a costume party the night before his wedding in Paris, his 82-year-old mother — too frail to travel from her Las Vegas home — still dressed up as an Indian princess and attended the party using a $9,700 personal-presence robot from Anybots Inc. At the wedding reception the next day, Mama Garriott shook her robootie on the dance floor, encircled by kids and family. Telepresence robots aren't just for the likes of Sergey Brin anymore — companies like VGo, Xaxxon, Willow Garage, and iRobot have introduced personal-presence robots that range in price from $270 for a simple model to $50,000 for a machine that allows doctors to diagnose illnesses remotely. And, as an old NY Times article noted, they can also make fine Robot Overlords."
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When a Robot Becomes the Life of the Party

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  • go full Avatar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @04:18PM (#39313579)
    You need a full gimball suit with force feedback at your end, with a full humanoid robot at the other. Then you'd really be at the party, not just video-conferencing. Of course it's just a matter of time till criminals get into the act. You can have your Obama avatar robbing banks (instead of the taxpayer).
  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:06PM (#39313897)

    Richard Gariott decided that he was living in the future.

    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." -- William Gibson

  • Re:the 1% (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @06:53PM (#39314537)

    While the robot sounds expensive to buy, if you consider the cost of travel, it is saving considerable money (and carbon emissions) if it eliminates just two trips for a "real person," and the savings increase with each additional trip eliminated.

    While one might argue that you could teleconference without a robot instead, there are many times when the robot facilitates interaction in ways that a camera on a wall cannot - ways that can make the difference between needing to be there in person and not.

    The 1% has always blown absurd amounts of money on frivolities, back to "Let them eat cake" and beyond.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2012 @08:55PM (#39315285)

    I'm sure Garriot made a lot in gaming but like most rich people he also started off wealthy.

  • Re:Problems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @12:08AM (#39315989)

    First world problems.

    I agree to an extent. However, 1st world tech also enriches the 3rd world. Cell phones used to be a solution to a "First world problem"... Now SMS is an important technology used by 2nd and 3rd world peoples regularly. Mobile computers used to solve a first world problem, and are now being used to teach school children in non 1st world nations.

    I've not figured out a use case for these "presence" robots outside of the "first world"; However, I'm not arrogant enough to say there isn't one...

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