Collaborators: Sharon Elkind, Robots4Good Australia
Project date: 2022 to present
‘Telepresence robotics’ is a type of technology that re-imagines video calls and surveillance. It allows users to remotely dial into and control a robot for the purposes of communicating and connecting with others. Typically equipped with wheels or treads, a web camera and display, these robots provide ‘video calls that move’. Telepresence robots are used in a variety of settings, including classrooms, courtrooms and workplaces where users aren’t able to attend in person. They are also being integrated with a range of smart home technologies, including ‘nanny cams’ and ‘pet cams’.
Sharon and Megan are exploring intimacies and connection through and with telepresence devices. Using two kinds of telepresence robots, EBO and OHMI, Sharon and Megan are exploring how these devices facilitate and transform their connections with each other as disabled academics living in Australia and the United States. They explore issues of surveillance, morphologies as well as unforeseen issues of accessibility (such as ‘holes’ in WiFi networks).