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. Both 2D and 3D telepresence have been employed as a means of making it seem as though a user is in a location when they physically are not. This is a technique intended to make collaboration feel more seamless and replicate the benefits of face-to-face communication. 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.

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

  • It would certainly help with the "face-to-face" visits and consultations that Extension used to do frequently. They are often mentioned by clients as one of the great aspects of Extension that just doesn't happen anymore. That said, unless we figure out the access issue, our rural clients will still be at a disadvantage. - mpeabody mpeabody May 13, 2016
  • I agree that it would allow "face-to-face" style Extension programs and events to be held virtually and reach a wider audience. - seger.23 seger.23 Jun 1, 2016
  • It would allow us to work across borders, bringing experts from other parts of the world to conduct trainings/presentations in a medium that leverages most of the benefits that face-to-face communication provides (similar to the benefits that a printed piece of paper in the hand provides over information viewed on a computer screen). - andersonb andersonb Jun 4, 2016

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

  • Access, cost, reliable timeline for when this might roll out...- mpeabody mpeabody May 13, 2016
  • With the potential for reaching a much wider and varied audience online, what are the staffing implications? Would staff be consolidated to a regional basis? Would they simply collaborate to plan and facilitate virtual events and programs, etc? - seger.23 seger.23 Jun 1, 2016
  • I agree that themes of access and equity will continue to increase in importance with the development of this (and other) technologies. As the Coward article I added points out (with regard to biohacking), those who have access to (and can afford) key technologies "will gain unfair advantages over those who do not." - andersonb andersonb Jun 4, 2016
    - http://hackaday.com/2015/10/12/cyberpunk-yourself-body-modification-augmentation-and-grinders/
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • It will certainly enhance distance learning and provide real opportunities to have more meaningful conversations/relationships with students/clients. - mpeabody mpeabody May 13, 2016
  • As professionals we could reach a much wider audience; as institutions we can increase impact while reducing costs (i.e., travel); and as consumers we can have the sum total of human knowledge at our fingertips in an interactive delivery mode customizeable in realtime.- andersonb andersonb Jun 4, 2016
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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