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CNET| Japanese airline wants robots to travel in your place

Wednesday October 16, 2019

Why leave home for a long, tedious trip when you can send a robot surrogate?

Do you hate the hassle of flying more than you love visiting exotic destinations? All Nippon Airways unveiled a telepresence robot on Monday that lets people experience faraway places without having to travel there in person.

The robot, named Newme, can transmit high-definition 2K video that lets its human user see and interact with the bot’s surroundings. ANA plans to debut 1,000 Newme robots by next summer, allowing humans to attend sporting events or go shopping on the other side of the world.

Newme, which looks like a tablet atop a pole attached to a moving base, was built by OhmniLabs at Tokyo’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies. “By placing the world at your fingertips, avatars will open up new possibilities and help reshape everything from business and education to healthcare and entertainment,” Shinya Katanozaka, president and CEO of ANA HD said in a statement.

OhmniLabs@OhmniLabs

Using our advanced additive manufacturing process and modular architecture, OhmniLabs engineered and manufactured the @ana_avatar_in AVATAR “newme” robot, debuting at , marking a major milestone for the AVATAR vision. https://ohmnilabs.com/content/ohmnilabs-showcases-latest-telerobotics-innovations-at-ceatec-2019/ 

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The idea isn’t completely original. In the 2009 movie Surrogates, humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots they send out into the real world. Actor Bruce Willis plays a cop who’s forced to leave his home for the first time in years to investigate the murders of robot surrogates happening all over the city.

While no one is using telepresence robots to solve murders yet, ANA wants to send Newme robots to destinations that may be impossible or too dangerous for most humans to visit, like the bottom of the ocean or the moon.

ANA is also researching more practical ways for humans to use telepresence robots — like how to help those with debilitating paralysis return to the workplace as telepresence robot waiters in Japanese cafes.

This article was originally published by Bonnie Burton at C|NET.  To view the full article on their website, please click the button below.

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