Being a Robot – Week 1

I am working remotely for a few weeks, so I have been making active use of our office’s Double robots. It’s been a year and a half since we first started using our Double 1, and about a year for our Double 2, which has some more advanced stabilization and speed features. While most of my daily tasks don’t require me to be synchronous and present in the office, I have made a point to drop through on the Double every other day or so. I thought it would be interesting to chronicle my experiences and challenges in a weekly blog post, so here we go!

Thursday, October 20th, 3PM

Although the Double robots are well designed pieces of technology and we have done a lot of work ensuring that they are setup in the easiest to use and most robust way, glitches can often happen, which are often impossible to fix without texting or calling someone else in the office to go rescue the robot wherever you left it, helplessly idling. This day, however, the technology performed flawlessly and I felt like I was taking advantage of its affordances in a newly effective way. The connection was simply excellent, and I really felt like I was present in the office with my colleagues. Obviously, I know my way around the space very well and have lots of practice driving these robots, but the overall quality of the image and my own immersion in that remote space was convincing and powerful. At one point, I was able to assist a student employee, looking over his shoulder while he worked on a video editing project. I could even see the screen well enough to get a general idea of what he was doing, although to give him specific directions I did open up the same program on my end as well.

Here’s what that looked like:

double10-20

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