Sparky Jr.

A quick question for people to ponder...

Considering the technology has been available for a while now, why do you think video chat has not caught on with mainstream consumers? Please present your response in the form of a Haiku (5,7,5).

No eye contact sucks.
Who wants to chat with friends, with
gaze over shoulder?

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Are you sure he wasn't bored with you? Did you juggle or make funny faces? You gotta shake your money maker.

Gringo said:
I recently had a video chat with my 5 yr old nephew. At first he was confused by the whole uncle-in-a-screen thing, then he grasped the concept, chatted for a bit and then became bored. He signed off by saying "I'm going to stop looking at you now"
I think video chat by itself has caught on fine with some segments. I use it all the time from computer to computer and know many others who do too.

The telepresence thing has many problems that make it more of a pain in the ass to use - for a start you need to get your rig transported to wherever, which is often more trouble than going there yourself. And even robot-form telepresence rigs aren't very mobile.

Exactly, Christopher.

I'm bedridden and a tech geek so I'm pretty much 100% the perfect audience and I still don't want a robot-form telepresence rig because of all the costs and things that can go wrong and the problem of needing a geek and a flat surface at the other end. I'm thinking of a netbook with a webcam on servos so I can "look around" from the netbook (controlled at my terminal) but have less that can go wrong!

The comments in this thread make some valid points, but I wonder how much of it it prejudiced by our time and place historically. The idea of remote mobile telepresence is still largely the stuff of SciFi, but just a few years ago, even the Internet seemed unrealistic.

I feel that the slow adoption of telepresence in the last decade is actually due to to fact that it IS tethered - generally relying on a stationary computer - even a netbook is stationary without a person (or robot) to move it from place to place.

Chris- You ask what's the point. Imagine a few years out when the SFMoMA has a bank of Sparky 'bot that can be used by anyone anywhere to view the museum unattended. That would be a boon to the millions of people who don't live nearby but still want to see the art. I recently did just that. I took Sparky to the SF Museum of Modern Art. It is this kind of mobile freedom that will allow telepresence to break free of the chains that currently bind it to a desktop. Here is a radio show from PRI's Studio 360 that covered the event:

I work for a large organization, and we use telepresence all the time. It reduces travel costs, it allows our customers over seas to interact with people back in the states.

I think the uses for this technology are there, its a matter of getting people to stop thinking about it as sifi and start thinking about it as reality.

There were some good points here, but all in all i think it comes down to adoption. All we need is for someone famous to use it and BAM every one and their mother will have on in the living room. Adoption is the reason that a lot of my projects at work either fail or take forever to incorporate. Even something as small and easy as OCS (office communicator aka MSN messenger), its just instant messaging, and that took about 10 weeks to get global adoption.

So in short its not about the technology or the lack of having a geek around to fix it, its getting people to begin to use it and realize its potential.

Just my 2 cents.
dare ga sirou
egao wo kawasu
haru mizu ni.

(Who knows the thing so as not to have seen spring when smiles have been exchanged?)

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