Jimmy Loizeau and James Auger, who’s work I first encountered in their isophone project at the Media Lab Europe, play with some really fun concepts in their Social Tele–presence project. Telepresence is the use of technology to enable a sense of ‘being there’ for someone in a remote location. It’s an idea that the corporate world has toyed with for a decade or so with little success. The face-to-face meeting still dominates trust and relationship building in that domain.
The telepresence scenarios that Loizeau and Auger imagine are social systems – explored through a combination of working prototypes and designed futures, an approach that has become one of the trademarks of the Design Interactions course at the RCA in recent years. In the project, actors can be sent to explore socially awkward situations on a customer’s behalf (their example is a politician taking a Strange Days-esque teleprescence trip to a red light district). They also show tests of a dog-mounted system that carrys a camera and binaural microphone with two axes of rotation. The practicalities of motion sickness from a dog mounted VR-headset aside for now, the use of animals as a means of adding complex mobility in place of robotic mounts is a concept that has intereed me for some time. More on this at a later date.