• A technical perspective on a telepresence robot – University of Brighton experiment
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Further to yesterday, timely findings from a recent experiement at Brighton using an AV1 robot from NoIsloation in Norway and an iPad for students who are unable to attend in person but to interact, record, ask questions in a lecture virtually. The AV1 robot also records the video of the lecture and can turn 360 degrees – being remotely controlled via the iPad.

They were unable to complete a successful test with students due to lack of interest and time, but the technology functioned in test seminars. There were issues with connectivity and video quality in the more remote location when wifi not available. There are privacy concerns particularly relating to the recording as well as live interaction.

There are logistical issues with managing borrowing of robots and getting them to timetabled locations when you have multiple users but may be easier for longer periods of planned leave. Aesthetically the design may need to change for older learners as this was designed for young learners in a classroom.

Due to the short test, there are not additional considerations about the relationship with other students as the robot is a representation of a student. I co-wrote an unsuccessful bid last year for an artificially intelligent student and one of the considerations for a BA Literature student were the relationships with other students and how a representation of a student could be manipulated by a group into doing some of their work for them as well the concerns about developing as a fellow student from a socio-emotional perspective.

I have huge concerns about how artificial intelligence is developing and how it is being represented on ethics and other committees by particular stakeholders. When artificial intelligence was introduced into education it was always from the perspective of an expert tutor which is nonsensical and restrictive for different sets of intelligence trying to develop, potentially as a complement to or replacement for a human mind. Or to put it more simply, if machines want to learn as machine learners then they need time and space to develop as a learner, not being propelled into an expert role (or weapons or anything else that they have no choice about). Although some people are researching this more sympathetically.

So in this setting the robot would be a representation of the learner using the iPad but would it be more collaborative than that in that the robot is what the other students and presenters actually interact with. Whilst this may be an interesting idea for helping with concerns about lecture capture and having to review hours of recorded material at another time, telepresence is still a presence of two characters – human and robot in this case.

Full report: http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/elearningteam/2019/06/20/a-technical-perspective-on-a-telepresence-robot/