A well known game developer from Texas works from home and runs his office through a robot, which he controls and leaves in charge during his absence.
The office, headed by Richard Garriot, who is famous for his work on the Ultima series of computer games, has been run in absentia by a robot that looks like a cross between ET and a Segway. Garriot, who now works from his home in New York, controls his mechanical persona through a broadband internet connection hooked up to his laptop.
The robot is outfitted with a speaker and two cameras, so that Garriot can not only see what is going on around the office, but also communicate with his employees through the robot. He uses the robot to “strike up conversations” with his employees and even attend and direct meetings.
According to our souce, Garriot originally purchased the robot for his mother who was unable to take part in his wedding in Paris. Instead of having her travel halfway across the glove, Garriot purchased the $15 000 machine from Anybots, inc. and had his mother in control of the robot in no time. He attached cardboard cutouts to the machine, and she participated as if she was really there, or at least close to being there.
After the wedding Garriot decided to make the best out of his investment, by living with his wife in New York, where her office was located. No stranger to innovation, it seems oddly appropriate for a video game developer to be one of the first people to run their office through a robotic sidekick.
Apparently, his employees are totally fine with being ruled over by a machine. Though, after having outfit the little guy with a carboard moustache, it looks more like a tiny french detective than an evil robotic overlord. Still, it would be interesting to see how these robots develop. If they can see, hear and communicate, I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing some with arms and legs that can be controlled remotely like this.