The familiar cartoon meme where an angel sits on someone's shoulder and a devil on another, both giving advice in the person's ear is one we all know. But what if you were able to have a real adviser sitting on your shoulder while learning a new task that not only offered advice but oversaw and guided your actions as well? The Grasp telespresence robot is designed to do just that.
Consisting primarily of a webcam, a speaker, a microphone, and a remotely-controlled laser pointer, the shoulder-perching Grasp robot prototype is designed to provide a link between someone learning a new skill or updating an old one and a remote teacher. Whether it be learning to play a musical instrument, repairing electronic equipment, or even performing surgery, the whole idea is to provide a first-person view to allow interaction between instructor and pupil.
Sick of Ads?
Join more than 500 New Atlas Plus subscribers who read our newsletter and website without ads.
It's just US$19 a year.More Information
Utilizing inbuilt Arduino control electronics, the user can converse with a distant instructor via a Wi-Fi internet link or on a phone. The instructor can then offer advice and instructions in real-time whilst also being able to control a movable laser pointer via a screen-based joystick to highlight specific areas or call out and identify objects.
Unlike some other ideas for shoulder-mounted, telepresence robots, Grasp doesn't have any arms with only that steerable laser pointer allowing the remote instructor to draw attention to a subject. But this is in keeping with the intention of Grasp as a specifically-designed electronic assistant for mentoring and remote tutelage – not an assistive automaton.
"The tool provides the mentor with a real time insight into the learner's environment through the coupling of a first person point of view and an instructional laser pointer... It is the idea of having a companion looking over your shoulder and instructing you while learning something new irrespective of distance," claims Grasp's designer and builder, Akarsh Sanghi.
A student of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Akarsh produced the little shoulder-perching robot as part of his Master's Thesis in Interaction Design. Little more than a provocative talking point for possible future iterations of interactive telepresence robots at the moment, Akarsh has detailed no plans for taking Grasp beyond its current prototype stage.
Source: Akarsh Sanghi.View gallery - 6 images