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Telepresence Applications

The flexibility of our telepresence system allows a myriad of applications, many of those inspired by discussion with the group and industry representatives.

Subsea Work

The cost of operations using deep water divers is extremely high due to safety regulations, hyperbaric equipment, time spent in decompression, and support vessel costs. Telepresence systems for inspection and teleoperation for repair and maintenance would again realise cost benefits and in addition would remove divers from a hazardous environment.

Nuclear Industry

The presence of ionising radiation, in areas where physical work needs to be carried out, has always meant that the nuclear industry needed remotely operated equipment for material handling, inspection, and maintenance. For this reason much work has been carried out and recorded in this area.

Outer Space and Planetary Work

Operations in vacuum and extremes of temperature and pressure are ideal for telepresence activities. The main problem here is obviously the time lag between transmission and receipt of signals both to and from the remote site. Nevertheless a commercial plan, resulting from an agreement between a US company and a recently privatised Russian company, has been announced to allow earthbound observers to be telepresent on the moon by 1998

Other Hazardous Environments

Many other applications in situations where humans are exposed to hazardous situations are readily recognised as suitable candidates for telepresence. Mining, bomb disposal, military operations, rescue of victims from fire, toxic atmospheres, or even hostage situations, are some examples.

Remote Surveillance

Sensor platforms operating autonomously in robotic mode could monitor sensitive areas. They could use software algorithms that would identify, for example, intruders. They would then proceed to track these intruders while sending an alert to a human operator requesting attention. The operator would don a head mounted display helmet and become telepresent at the remote location and take over control of the sensor platform. This would then allow the operator to investigate more fully.

Remote Surgery

The possibility of being able to project the knowledge and the physical skill of a surgeon over long distances has many attractions. Thus again there is considerable research underway in the subject. The armed forces have an obvious interest since the combination of telepresence, teleoperation, and telerobotics can potentially save the lives of battle casualties by allowing them prompt attention in mobile operating theatres by remote surgeons.


The benefits of enabling schoolchildren to take an active part in exploration have been shown by the JASON and the NASA Ames Research Centre programmes. The ability of a pupil, student, or researcher to explore an otherwise inaccessible location is a very attractive proposition. For example locations where the passage of too many people is harming the immediate environment or the artefacts themselves, e.g. undersea exploration of coral reefs, ancient Egyptian tombs and more recent works of art.

Advertising and Sales

Tour operators and property agents would be able to use telepresence to allow potential customers to sample holiday locations and view properties remotely before investigating further.


Telepresence systems could be incorporated into theme or nature parks to allow observers to travel through coral reefs, explore underground caves, or in amusement parks the elderly or infirm could experience the thrill of live roller coaster rides without the associated risks.

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