It is so much fun to read about inventions and to see how innovators are truly pushing the envelope of what’s possible. Do you remember when you would see a piece of technology in an older movie and think, “that’s ridiculous. That will never exist.” Look at smartphones. Look at Google Glass. These are concepts that we could barely even dream up a few decades ago. Now, they are realities.
Enter, the Beam Robot. This is an incredible technological invention that is absolutely the kind of thing you might have seen in an older sci-fi movie. It is a robotic structure with an attached screen that can be controlled remotely via Wi-Fi. It’s officially labeled as a “telepresence device.” In other words, you can sit at home and control your Beam Robot (while using your webcam to display your face), and go communicate with your colleagues (or bug them or spy on them!) as if you were physically in the office. It’s brilliant!
You can use speakers on the device to both listen to and participate in conversations, and the camera allows you to see where you are going so you don’t run the robot into any walls or run over people’s feet. It moves quietly (according to those who have tested it out), and allows you to sneak into offices virtually unnoticed.
While there are still some kinks – some have experienced minor connectivity hiccups, and others have noted that it is a little more difficult to interpret typical social cues from a camera alone – this technology really is revolutionary. Think of the applications for people who are out sick for long periods of time. Think of what this could do for the future of telecommuting. Suddenly, images come to mind of no one actually being in the office, and rather an entire conference room being full of Beam Robots all conversing with one another!
This could be the new wave of people being able to conduct business across national and international borders. It will be exciting to see how this develops over time.