If you are a geek like us, you probably watch the CBS show The Big Bang Theory. You may remember the hilarious episode where Sheldon hides from the “vicissitudes of the world” by creating Sheldon-bot, a mobile virtual presence device. In this episode, Sheldon locks himself in the safety of his bedroom, but still lives out his life through this robot that he created. He interacts with his friends, rides in a car, and even goes out for dinner via his virtual presence. If you’ve never seen this episode or can’t remember it, here is a clip so you know what we are talking about.
This whole idea leads to some comedic situations, but what if someone actually could not go out? There are people who are unable to leave their bed, but have perfectly functioning brains. They need and desire the same social contact and activities that we all do. Could this kind of device open doors for people in this situation?
According to a story from GeekBeat.tv this is already being done! Lyndon Baty, a child in Knox City, Texas is using a $5,000 telepresence robot from VGO Communications to attend school. Lyndon had been home bound for more than a year due to Polycystic Kidney Disease which weakens his immune system. He missed going to school and having the social interaction with his classmates. Now, from the comfort of his home computer, Lyndon can virtually walk around the hallways, talk with his fellow students, and interact with his teachers in class.
Watch this video from WBIR news:
What do you think? If you had to, would you use a device like this to get out of the house and interact with others? Do you think people would treat you differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section below!