MAT200A 02W
Courses:MAT200A 02W:Telepresence:John Slonaker

schedule MAT200A 02W

Report by: John Slonaker


Applications in art, science and industry

Definition There is a broad, more historical way of defining telepresence, and a narrow, more contemporary view.

Historically, it can be seen as any telecommunications technology that allows a person to perceive, in real time, information from a remote place. In modern times, however, telepresence has come to mean technology that allows a person to perceive information from, and perform actions in, a remote place.

A Brief History

(historical applications of telecommunications technology in science, military and indusatry)

490 BC A messenger runs 26 miles from Marathon to Athens and announces a battle victory.

450 BC "Torch telegraph" invented by the two Alexandrian engineers Kleoxenos and Demokleitos.

150 BC The Romans implement a network of smoke signal stations reaching across a total distance of 4500 km.

1794 Claude Chappe invented a mechanical-optical telegraph that linked Lille with Paris.

1809 Samuel Thomas von Sömmering demonstrates the first electric telegraph.

1844 Samuel F B Morse transmits the first "Morse Code" message from the Capitol building to the railroad station in Baltimore, MD.

1858 The first message is sent across the newly laid transatlantic cable.

1876 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the "Electric Talking Machine" (the telephone) at the Centennial celebration in Philadelphia.

1881 Shelford Bidwell transmits silhouettes of scanned images over telegraph wires.

1895 Guglielmo Marconi transmits the letter S (in Morse Code) via "Herzian" (radio) waves a distance of 3 kilometers.

1901 Marconi receives an "S" sent across the Atlantic ocean.

1925 John Logie Baird transmits a moving image between rooms using an electromechanical system.

1929 Vladimir Zworykin demonstrates the first all electronic device for transmitting moving pictures.

1962 first message sent via communications satellite. Television and telephone signals were sent later the same year.

1969 The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency develops DARPAnet.

Telecommuncations Art

(examples conforming to the "broad definition" of telepresence)

Scanner Is the psuedonym for Robin Rimbaud, an artist who uses scavenged electronic communications such as intercepted mobile phone communications.

Paul Sermon used compressed video transmitted via ISDN lines in his work "Telematic Dreaming." The iamge of a remote person was projected onto the surface of a bed next to an actual (local) person and vice-versa.

Modern Applications

(examples of telepresence technology that conforms to the "narrow definition")

Telesurgery On September 7, 2001, Professor Jacques Marescaux, in the world's first telesurgical operation, remotely removed a gallbladder from a patient in Strasbourg, France while working in New York. He used the ZEUS Robotic Surgical System by Computer Motion. Another telesurgery system that has been used successfully is the da Vinci™ Surgical System by Intuitive Surgical. Besides allowing surgeons to perform remotely, these systems also enable them to operate with much greater mechanical precision than with their own hands.

Tele-exploration On July 4, 1997, The Mars Pathfinder lander and its cargo, the "Sojourner," landed on the planet's surface. Operators on Earth were able to pilot the Sojourner around the Martian surface and gather visual images and other EM radiation data via a wireless communications link.

"Tele-fighting" On February 7, 2002, The United States military used the RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle to launch a missle at Al Qaeda forces. A "crew" of four people can remotely pilot the Predator on seek and destroy missions.

Remote Hazardous Duty Houdini, and other products from RedZone Robotics, allow operators to remotely remove nuclear waste from storage tanks.

Telepresence Art

(examples conforming to the "narrow definition" of telepresence)

Masaki Fujihata's project Light on the Net allows users to turn on or off any of a bank of 49 20 watt lights in the lobby of Gifu Softopia Center west of Tokyo, Japan.

Eduardo Kac linked Chicago, Seattle and Lexington, KY with his project Ornitorrinco in Eden where participants used a touch-tone phone interface to remotely navagate a telerobot in order to view a remote space.

Ken Goldberg did a project called The Telegarden which allowed people to remotely plant, water and visually monitor the prgress of, seedlings using a system that includes a camera and a robotic arm.

Eric Paulos has created several PRoPs (Personal Roving Presence) which are tele-robots that provide video and audio links to remote users as well as a visible, mobile entity which mediates interaction with others.

and Finally

Scott Fisher's web site, has some cool images: (favorite1 favorite2 favorite3).