Telepresence robots or “Avatars” is an emerging field. Telepresence is for an operator to be present in a different location and to interact with that environment. For an avatar, this is the embodiment of a robot. To successfully embody a robot, different kinds of techniques can be implemented—for example, virtual and augmented reality, haptics, motion capturing and robotics. Competitions like the AVA Avatar Xprize serve as catalysts for these new technologies.
There is no clear overview of where in the world these technologies are developed, and where centres of activity are. For people working on avatar-related projects, this information is extremely valuable, as when there are enough users of a new technology, this so-called “critical mass” may be reached. This entails that adopters of the technologies become self-sustaining, which allows the technology to rapidly develop further, also known as a ‘technological take-off’.
This project aims to give a tool that helps the user get an overview of avatar-related activities around the world interactively. This includes research groups, projects, hardware developments and pilot projects. An interactive website will be developed to present this information comprehensively.