This is either a great meeting tool or a dream come true for suspicious bosses who want to keep tabs on workers in remote locations. Or both.
The "Giraffe Video-Conferencing Robot" from HeadThere is basically a mobile video-conferencing system that can roam around the office floor like a surrogate supervisor. "Because people near the robot can see and hear the user, they interact with him as if he were truly present. In a sense, the robot acts as a stand-in for the user," the company says. Creeped out yet?
The 5-foot-8 Giraffe, which can be controlled through the Internet, can be lowered so that its "head" is at sitting height for "natural eye-to-eye conversation." The 14-inch screen and 2-megapixel camera can also look up and down, as well as turn in place to face others in a meeting while they're talking.
The Giraffe is supposed to hit the market in 2008 at a price between $1,800 and $3,000. Is this perfect for an episode of The Office or what?