Spotify Engineer experiences Remote Presence and lives!

With all of the increased visibility of the double on TV (see the double in action on The Colbert Report), what is missing is a first-person account of the use of the double.

Courtesy of one of our readers, we were alerted to a great article by a Spotify Engineer Henrik Kniberg discussing his use of the double for a Lean Tribe meeting in Stockholm.

Waiting for everyone elseWhat is notable about his experience is the issues of being a “drunk tetraplegic with bad hearing and a weak voice”. The challenge with most of the remote presence systems on the market today is exactly the issue he focuses on the most.

Tetraplegic, because I’m effectively paralyzed from the neck down – the double doesn’t even have legs or arms. I could see and hear, and I could roll around like in a wheelchair. But slowly and carefully, and I sometimes needed assistance when things got in the way.

Sometimes I got assistance, even when I didn’t need it, which felt both good and bad at the same time. Gradually people noticed that I could get around quite nicely myself, with some patience. I can’t turn my head, but I can turn my whole vehicle from side to side to see what’s going on. Of course, I don’t know what it’s really like to be a tetraplegic but I guess it’s probably something like this.

Drunk, because that thing sways quite often to stay in balance, and sometimes bumps into things or trips on small objects and falls flat on it’s face (happened only once, but it felt horrible).

Bad hearing and weak voice, because of the background noise in combination with my rather limited microphone and speaker. I often couldn’t follow the conversation going on, and people had to lean in close to hear what I was saying.

Now, the real challenge with the double is not the application — since the locomotion system is excellent. But given the limitations of the iPad and the network, along with the inverse pendulum, it is still an interesting connection.

This report is reminiscent of the video on the NYTimes regarding “Robo-Beltzner” and how individuals interacted with the remote presence device at Mozilla.

The fun will come when double offer an alternative to the iPad and handle the various issues that currently make the situation still amusing, rather than a norm.

h/t to @hkanji

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