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Friday, January 07, 2011

From Avatar Kinect to Avatar Robot

The idea of using avatars in an idealized virtual world is back. After the Second Life hipe some years ago (1), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at CES 2011 that Kinect and Xbox will connect with consumers via avatars, transporting Xbox Live Gold subscribers into the virtual world of Avatar Kinect.
According to Ballmer this will "make entertainment more interactive, more social, and more fun for everyone". Avatar Kinect allows for richer virtual interactions by tracking the actual facial expressions and gestures of users and letting their avatars express them on screen — or not. With an avatar, people can choose which visual details they want to transmit. The technology could go way beyond gaming and opening new dimensions to telepresence and robotics.

From Virtual Avatar to Robotic Avatar

Infonaut: Telenoid@Ars Electronica 2010

Japanese roboticist professor Hiroshi Ishiguro has already gone from cyberspace into robotspace by creating human like androids designed to "transmit the presence" of people to a distant place. His previous remote controlled androids include a robot replica of himself that he named Geminoid HI-1 and a smiling female android called the Geminoid F. His latest creation is called Telenoid R1 and is a minimalistic design, sized as a small child, with soft torso, a bald head, a doll-like face, and stumps in place of limbs. More info here

(1) Second Life was launched in 2003 and In November 2010, 21.3 million accounts were registered, although there are no reliable figures for actual long-term consistent usage.

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