The MeBot is a semi-autonomous robotic avatar that gives a person a richer way to interact remotely with an audience than is allowed with phone and video conferencing. The robot was designed with an emphasis on being able to convey the non-verbal channels of social communication. That is, it is able to communicate some body posture, a wide range of head movement and very expressive hand gestures. It takes advantage of the current advanced technology in wireless communications and the ever-expanding capabilities of mobile devices. MeBot is a push toward a future where remote presence can be achieved easily in a way that saves traveling time but still achieves the same experience as “being there”.
We conducted an experiment that evaluated how people perceived a robot-mediated operator differently when they used a static telerobot versus a physically embodied and expressive telerobot. Results showed that people felt more psychologically involved and more engaged in the interaction with their remote partners when they were embodied in a socially expressive way. People also reported much higher levels of cooperation both on their own part and their partners as well as a higher score for enjoyment in the interaction.
This work received a best paper nomination at HRI2010
- Sigurdur Orn Adalgeirsson. Mebot, a Robotic Platform for Socially Embodied Telepresence. In Proceedings of the fifth ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI-10). ACM/IEEE International, 2010. [Best paper nomination]
In printed media:
- FrankfurterRundschau [March 30th, 2010]
In on-line media:
- Engadget – MIT’s MeBot makes telerobotics fun again
- BotJunkie – MeBot Brings Intuitive Movement To Telepresence
- CNET Crave – Robot avatar MeBot gives you wriggling bug body
- Hizook – MeBot: An Affective Teleconferencing Robot from MIT Being Presented at HRI 2010
- Coolest Gadgets – Mebot lets you talk to the little one on your desk
- Golem.de – Mebot – der gestikulierende Telepräsenzroboter
- DVice – MeBot, MIT’s most expressive telepresence robot yet
- RobotShop – MeBot a telepresence mini robot
- Hacking the Universe – MeBot
- Singularity Hub – MeBot, the Telepresence Robot With Body Language
- Ubergizmo – MeBot telepresence robot
- Technabob – MIT’s mebot is telepresence at its best?
- Technovelgy – MeBot Robot Avatar Telepresence
- Plastic Pals – MeBot