Avatar XPrize aims to let humans remotely inhabit robotsJapanese airline ANA is sponsoring a competition with an estimated prize pool of over $20 million, and the goal is both ambitious and exciting: Build a general purpose robot avatar for humankind.
[MUSIC] Transferring the human consciousness from one place to another. And then controlling some kind of robot or tele-presence object on the other side, is the stuff of sci-fi. And All Nippon Airways wants to make that a reality through its Avatar X Prize. We are checking out ANA's avatar presentation. Hundreds of visioneers voted to make this concept an official X Prize competition. An avatar is basically an alternative body. That uses it, so you put your intelligence in it, your awareness in it. This avatar system is an enormous potential for mankind, that's what I believe in. If I have one in a village for instance, I can have ever doctor, every engineer, every machinist. Whatever you need when you need it could be there. This sounds a lot like the beginnings of SkyNet to me. When the terminator war comes Do you want to fight that terminator in you meat suit, or do you want to fight it in your avatar body? You can travel on top of the Everest, and also you can dive deeply into the ocean for like 2000 meters, on the very same day. And if you were able to do that through the robot, wouldn't you be tempted to do that by yourself? Everest shmeverest, I'm gonna win a hot dog eating contest with my avatar. So the goal of the avatar X prize Is a contest that will bring all the makers together to create a general purpose avatar system. My God it's a robot! The whole point of our contest is to build this general purpose avatar and by having celebrities or others do it it will get across again the full concept that this is for everyone. So we finally get to play with the robot and shaking someone's hand through it was incredible. But then they dropped a bomb on me. I get to be the robot. You guys have no idea how excited I am about this right now. So there's four pieces of equipment I have to put on in order to become the robot, a giant headset, a vest, and two gloves with haptic feedback inside. This is a super futuristic version of Edward Scissorhands. To calibrate my hands to the robot's hands I have to do these strange finger exercises that will tell the computer what I want the robot to do. We're about to start, and they say put your hands on the orbs. And suddenly, I have been transported to Star Trek. Okay, you are connected. Whoa. Hello everybody. [INAUDIBLE] you can see me. Hello Hello. The professor touches my robot hand, and I can feel it in my hand because of the haptic feedback. Yes. Wow. [LAUGH] That's amazing. Then I turned my head to the right, and that's when things got weird. Because there I was, sitting five feet away. It's me. Hi me. Where are you? Are you here? I'm having an existential crisis. Where am I? Yeah it's strange because I can see your hand moving when you move towards me, but I take off the headset, the gloves, and the vest and I'm Super bummed out because honestly I just wanted to be a robot all day but unfortunately the technology to build a true general purpose avatar is still a little ways off. So I'll wake up tomorrow morning and think the same thing that I've thought my entire adult life, I wish I was a robot. [MUSIC]