Scientists from throughout Europe have been working on a new telepresence technology, which they have called ‘beaming’.
Phys.org reported on the innovation, explaining that it involves metaphorically ‘transporting’ someone to a meeting room located anywhere in the world. Using augmented reality, beaming allows those involved in meetings to feel like they are physically there; represented by a virtual avatar or a real-life robot.
Those taking part in beaming are fitted with sensors across their body, with their heads held in a display; allowing them to see what the avatar or robot at the other end does.
Businessmen and women can even virtually shake hands on a deal using the technology, despite being thousands of miles away from each other. Stephen Dunne, from Starlab (a science organisation), explained the motivation behind beaming: “When we meet people in the flesh we can pick up on subtle cues – facial expressions, quirks, who is looking at who.
“There is so much non-verbal communication that you miss… It was important for us to make the interaction as natural as possible,” he added, cited by europa.eu.
However Dunne did add that he knows the technology won’t necessarily “revolutionise” the world, but hopes it will make an impact in a range of different environments. For example, he claimed surgeons could ‘beam’ into an international operating theatre; sharing their expertise with trainees or new doctors.
He concluded by saying he and the other scientists were moving from the realm of discovery into the commercial world.