Look Out! The Avatar Robots Are Coming


The term avatar has become popularly used in recent decades to define the digital form a person inhabits in various digital situations. Now, avatars are catching up with science fiction and are not a million miles away from the hugely successful Avatar movie’s fictional technology. For some time, robotics experts have been attempting to add physicality to the concept of avatars. Now, robot avatars are becoming a reality.

The Avatar Robots
The Avatar Robots

How are avatar robots being used in Japan?

Japan has been integral in many areas of tech in recent decades, from video game development to artificial intelligence. Indeed, without Japan’s contribution to modern technology, things like virtual reality and games played at a オンラインカジノ (online casino) would not be as sophisticated as they are. The country has also long held a leading position in the development of humanoid robots. Although avatar robots are still in the experimental stage, if everything keeps going to plan, you could see the robots being used in all kinds of sectors in the near future. Remote-controlled avatar robots could staff convenience stores, patrol buildings as security guards, help during natural disasters, and even assist astronauts in outer space. In fact, some convenience stores are already using prototype avatar robots to stock shelves. The robots are controlled remotely from several miles away by operators using motion-sensor instruments and virtual reality goggles.

The robots were developed by one of the world leaders in avatar robotics: the Tokyo-based firm Telexistence.  Avatar robots currently still require human operators, but it is hoped that just one person will soon be able to operate numerous robots at Japanese convenience stores to help the industry’s labor shortage. However, Telexistence hopes to develop robots that can operate entirely independently. The company is working towards developing robots that can share sensory and kinetic information via the cloud so that the robots can teach other robots how to complete their operations. Telexistence hopes to introduce around 1,500 robots into Japanese outlets in the next three to five years.

Other Companies Using Avatar Robots

In May 2020, Sony Corp. and ANA Holdings Inc. announced they were uniting to develop remotely controlled avatar robots. Sony AI Inc. will be providing artificial intelligence, sensing, and robotics technologies, while ANA’s Avatarin Inc. is developing remote-controlled stick-shaped robots. According to Sony AI Inc.’s CEO, the two companies aim to establish a new social foundation for avatars. The robots will be able to work in high-risk environments where human contact and movement is limited or impossible.

ANA has already developed a mobile avatar robot with a tablet monitor for a head, which displays the operator’s facial expressions in real-time. Meanwhile, Sony has developed an AI-powered robot dog equipped with sensors and cameras, which has the potential to monitor children and disabled people in their homes.

How big is the robot avatar market?

According to Verified Market Research, the global remote-controlled robot sector was worth a whopping $181 million in 2019, and it is expected to grow to a staggering $789 million by 2027. With the advancements being made by companies like Telexistence, Sony, and ANA, along with the expected spread of 5G technology, which has a much faster transmission rate than 4G, the avatar robot industry looks set to grow massively in the coming years. So, in the very near future, you can expect to see a society where an army of avatar robots are working alongside humans.

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