Meet the Telenoid R1, a Casper-like robot that will haunt your dreams

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University created this Telenoid R1 robot to "transmit the presence" of its user from afar. The Telenoid R1 was designed to be generic as possible, but it also resembles an embryonic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

The silicon-skinned Telenoid R1 was designed to be entirely featureless so that people in its presence can project their vision of the Telenoid's user onto the little glob. Even Ishiguro and his team acknowledge that the Telenoid's appearance is a smidge disconcerting:

The unique appearance may be eery [sic] when we first see it. However, once we communicate with others by using the telenoid, we can adapt to it. If a friend speaks from the telenoid, we can imagine the friend's face on the telenoid's face. If we embrace it, we have the feeling, that we embrace the friend.

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The Telenoid R1 will be on display at the 2010 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria between September 2-11. At least 10 of these 31", 11-pound blob-bots will go on sale for $35,000 around October, and a cloth-skinned, 8.8-pound retail version will be available for $8000.

[Via IEEE and Plastic Pals. Top photo via Osaka University and ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories. Thanks Erico and Poly Bug!]

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DISCUSSION

From the video it seems its motion is way too limited and uneven for it to be useful for its intended task... I am not sure I see a point to this. Some sort of tele-presence robot for personal communication would be awesome if it could move more smoothly and more fully, and if it didn't look so creepy. :P Honestly, seeing an image of the person you're talking to on a display screen seems infinitely better than the Telenoid.