Monday, March 8, 2021 by DJ Uncertain #technology


In May of last year, art historian and media theorist Kris Paulsen came on the radio for a segment with Electronic Arts Intermix and spoke about her book, Here/There: Telepresence, Touch, and Art at the Interface. Telepresence, as she describes, is the ability to engage our senses in distant environments that we can manipulate and effect without ever being physically present. Our senses are engaged while our bodies are removed and sitting miles away. With the current state of the world, one of the biggest challenges we’ve all had to face is finding a way to connect with one another while being physically distant. And so with everything we’re going through, thought I'd share some of my favorite telepresence projects. Some are wonky futurist visions that never saw completion, while others gave us robotic limbs to remind us that we’re never as isolated as we think we are. 


1. Telegarden (1995): A community garden where members could visit a web page that would instruct a robotic arm to plant new seeds, water the flowers, and keep track of its growth. 

Ken Goldberg & Joseph Santarromana  - Telegarden, Telerobotic Installation 1995


2. Hilton’s TeleSuite and Teledining services

In the late 90s, Hiliton hotels had started creating special rooms called “TeleSuites'' that would simulate the feeling of sitting down at a table and sharing a meal. Each room had a 92 inch screen that would project life size images of the other party, each side eating the same food with the same silverware. The systems were connected by land based lines instead of by satellite to make sure there were no delays or any buffering.


3. Underwater robot sampler that gently traps creatures without any harm for deep sea research. Future iterations of the robot will have the ability to take DNA samples and film video.


4. Kissenger: Perfect for star crossed lovers or I guess if you moved back in with your parents lol.

OceanOne robot has a haptic feedback system, so you can feel exactly what the robot is feeling with his hands

5. LiveMask: A screen that molds to the shape of your face