What is Telepresence?

Telepresence is a form of remote conferencing in which the participants appear to be physically present in the conference space. Body language cues like eye contact are easily transmitted and interpreted because of the fidelity, size, and position of the images. Several high-profile 3-dimensional demonstrations of the technology have taken place; for instance, CNN made extensive use of the technology during coverage of the 2008 US presidential election. Typically, 3D telepresence requires a specially configured space in which to capture a 360-degree image that can then be inserted into a virtual set, and viewed from any angle, but high-definition displays, seamless integration with software and data presentation, and full-surround audio make even 2D telepresence a very immersive experience.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Having used HD telepresence - its ability to close distance is very powerful. After a few minutes of using the technology you can forget that the person sitting around the desk isnt physically there and when you do meet them in the flesh it feels as though you have met before in a way in which video conferencing can't replicate. Currently prohibitively expensive but has real applications for cross boundry and cross sector connectivity and learninghttp://www.musion.co.uk/#!/products-services/telepresence
    - DaveP DaveP Dec 2, 2012
  • Exploration of this area is now coming within affordable reach of most institutions, thanks to startup commercial projects like this one: http://www.doublerobotics.com - while it's not a full holographic presence, it allows for exploration of the remote environment, and allows for near-natural interactions with other participants.- rubenrp rubenrp Dec 3, 2012 Agree with Ruben. We've had a couple of these stand in for students in classes and have been surprised by their immediate acceptance as a low-fi avatar. Skype/Facetime/Hangouts get us well down the road, so the era of 50k telepresence rooms serving a few dozen students seems over, but these types of robots feel like an important experiment in the short-term. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 21, 2013
  • For the flipped classroom this technology will be a quantum leap. Many video demonstrations / lectures suffer from a primitive underlying technology with dull and not motivating products a a result. Good andwell-founded teaching materials are of paramount importance for blended learning to succeed. - ole ole Oct 7, 2013
  • Personal experience using Skype and Google+ Hangouts to connect learners with learning facilitators suggests that the 3D element of telepresence will be an extremely powerful way to create engaging learning experiences for learners of all ages. As Dave notes above, it's very easy, after a few minutes of using this sort of technology, to forget that the person coming into the space is not actually there in the same room--have seen this repeatedly with Google+ Hangouts when the setting is right and the online connections are good.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 11, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Use of telepresence devices/robots/drones for Work Situated Learning environments in which it is difficult/dangerous/intrusive/impractical for students to attend physically. - j.zagami j.zagami Oct 23, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research, or creative inquiry?

  • Telepresence extends our ability to put learners and learning resources together in an extremely visceral and engaging way. I believe that what we're already seeing with tools like Skype and Google+ Hangouts is changing the way we perceive the concept of "face to face": learners with whom I've worked online admit that they feel as if they have "met" each other once they've engaged in a Hangout, and the sophistication of telepresence suggests that these perceptions will continue to evolve rapidly as online interactions more closely convey the presence of all parties involved.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 11, 2013
  • Bringing once corporate-level tools within reach of consumer freemium infrastructure. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 21, 2013
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?