When you video chat, you are usually stationary at a computer. You talk back and forth but all you’re doing is having a conversation face to face over a computer screen. But with a new development called the TEROOS, you can take that person with you. Instead of just sharing conversation, you can share experiences as well.
A research team that included members of Keio University presented TEROOS, a shoulder-mounted avatar for telecommunication, at Interaction 2011. But if you’re thinking that this is just a webcam that is similar to a helmet cam, you’d be wrong.
One of the researchers stated that with video chat you can view each other face to face over a great distance. The problem is that sharing experiences together, like going shopping, is not possible. But with this shoulder-mounted avatar, it is. The way it works is that one person mounts the avatar on their shoulder. The other person controls the avatar from their computer. The person controlling the avatar is given a variety of different abilities. They can control where the avatar is looking with their mouse, move its head in six directions and can change the different expressions with set icons that include opening and closing eyes.
The avatar includes, just like a webcam, a mic and speaker so you can talk freely with each other. An example of how useful this could be is say you were to go clothes shopping. The person on the other end could see what you were looking at, and tell you if you should get it or keep looking.
How this communication happens is that the information is sent to a smartphone which is then sent over Bluetooth to a microcontroller. Everything is then sent through Skype. No more stationary face to face conversations.