We've tried to kill the robot before in applications where the human touch has no replacement, but they keep coming back.
As serial entrepreneurs we admire risk-taking, imagination and good intentions, but in looking at this new product pictured above, essentially a computer monitor on a wobbly moving stick, it's hard to believe it'll ever fly. In fact it'll literally fall.
Called the Giraffe Video Conferencing Robot and designed by HeadThere, Inc. of San Franscisco it's evidently intended for homes and businesses. Many of the descriptions of the product's applications for use are so dreamy and out-of-touch with the way people (would) interact with machines, we wondered if it weren't another conferencing hoax like this one. Indeed, maybe it is. A choice nugget from the HeadThere website:
"Having trouble making a distant worker feel like they're part of the team? Use the Giraffe to put them in the office regardless of where they are. Now they can not only attend meetings, but also take part in spur-of-the-moment office conversations and brainstorming sessions. The Giraffe robot keeps other team members aware of their presence and enables them to interact with others like they were actually on-site."
A wobbling monitor on a stick bumping into everything won't keep up with fluid human physical movement in an office envrironment and will falter with natural human communications. We'd guess that this gizmo with the two-hour battery will be a blundering hindrance and the laughingstock of the office. But hey, a two-hour workday isn't bad.
March 8, 2007