21/04/2012 Click


21/04/2012

Guide to the latest gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. The tech team visit an expo in Liverpool to explore to what extent we can be in two places at once.


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Transcript


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Did you think you were in charge of the machines? Not any more. Now,

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This week, Click is in Liverpool at the art exhibition designed to test

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our relationship with robots and each other. But are you ready to

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become a digital been? As a rapper Tupac is resurrected for one final

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peak, we show you how this holographic effect was achieved. --

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gig. And a side that has control of your online mutterings in Webscape.

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Welcome. It is pretty certain that in the future, we will all be

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talking to each other more and more using technology. Communicating

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with people who are a fair distance away, as if they were in the same

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room. Now, I am not just talking about video calling your mother.

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There are many more ways in which you can make your presence felt and

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feel that of somebody else's from afar. That is why we have come to

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this exhibition which explores some of those ideas. It is called Robots

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and Avatars. Part art, part technology, this is

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a collection of works exploring ways in which we made few others

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and ourselves as digital beings. -- view. The artists have pondered

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questions like how do we feel about seeing ourselves on screen? How

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would it feel to look more of our lives in virtual bodies? And how

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would it feel to let machines take more control over our real bodies?

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This work, for example, called Base 8 invited to transform your hand

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into a virtual one to experience the feeling of handling non-

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existent particles. As more and more devices become controlled

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using gestures, we may have to get used to moving things around which

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we cannot actually feel. Maybe manipulating particles in a virtual

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chemistry lab or remotely controlling that will hand from

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thousands of miles away. You may instead want to use your phone to

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control a bop -- A Bott, bot's voicebox. This is a daunting figure

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designed to give a voice to others who may otherwise be lost in the

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crowd. He certainly is hard to ignore. Some of robotic

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interpretations are far more tenuous. Take a leader - a giant

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globe covered with pieces of coal and filled with a mixture of you in

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bed to make it floaty. Aida has been described as an analogue robot.

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Something that is remote controlled by quite a few people at one time.

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But in no way did Italy. The point, does it say something about what

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happens when people try to be cholate -- created at once? Maybe.

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And from the physical to the emotional. Some of the works are

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designed to capture our feelings. The electronic man is a website

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which sources emotions from users around the world. If the project

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gains momentum, it could provide a guide to the happiest places on

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earth and the most stressful. If crossing continents is not your

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thing, you now have many ways to talk to people on the other side of

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the world. If you years ago, Second Life was briefly all the rage. A 3D

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space in which your avatar could build a home, the business and

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relationships with others, no matter where their flesh and blood

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fissions decided. Although the buzz around it has died down, its ideas

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live on. This project, Visions of our Communal Dreams, attempts to

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show how a virtual world may blend with the real one. Not only can you

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fly your avatar around this island, meeting and interacting with others

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virtually, but it can also see and talk to real people as well. Fly to

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one of several portals of the island and you will find a window

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to a particular place in the real world. Cameras and projectors allow

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real and virtual people to converse across the physical and virtual

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divide. More of this later. And finally, something much more

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unnerving. It is designed to test out trust in technology. Will we

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ever reach a point where we let the robot drive us about? How easy

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would it be to give over physical control to a machine? I am about to

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find out. World! -- I do not have much choice

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about which way it wants me to go. This frightening looking beast is

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called Compass and has the ability to spin you around. It has its own

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ideas about the route you should walk and, specifically, it will not

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let you walk into the rectangles of light. It is guided by a small

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magnetic field under the carpet and gets its talk by spinning

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heavyweights in the opposite direction.

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This is kind of awesome but it is not very nice. The Compass is

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really insisted on where it wants me to go and where it does not want

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me to go. It is really strong. It is very difficult to resist when it

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turns you. I guess this is what it We are back with Ede, the giant

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inflatable robot/avatar. And our guest, Professor Noel Sharkey. --

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aider. Welcome to Click. Is there anything you and your profession

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can learn from this? Quite a lot. I love working with artists and

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designers because they explore domains we do not look at. We are

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good at Engineering. But if you want real beauty and an exploration

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of new ideas, this is the way to go. I would recommend we do this kind

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of arts in our schools. And we are teaching robotics. There has been a

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lot of talk about how a i is getting better. What Aires is it

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particularly good at? And for what parts of simulating real life? --

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areas. There has been a lot of talk since the 50s. In the 70s, we would

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have all household Tours does. One thing we are good at is making

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false predictions. -- tours. The areas we are good at his robotics.

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There is a lot of work in robotics in things like farming, picking

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fruit, cleaning floors, a lot of cleaning tasks. The reason for this

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is until the 1980s, the big ambitions were to make a big

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thinking robot machine. That was almost impossible. Machines were

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moving so slowly. You could hardly see them moving. So we moved from a

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fast sensor type operation, stop trying to make multi-purpose

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machines. Now, there is one robot that will clean and sweep the floor,

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one that will market, and one that will clean the windows. That is the

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area where we are making progress. Single purpose robots. Also the

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area of telly robotics. That is becoming major. It has become

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really begin surgery, particularly in the US. It is robotic assistance

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for a surgeon. The surgeon moves the hand but the robot takes out

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tremors and so it is good progress. I have been told in the past that

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it is the sensors on any were bought or system that is still

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letting us down, the ability to in per -- interpret the world and act

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on it. Is that still the case? is but it is not the sensors

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themselves. They are becoming remarkable with nanotechnology. We

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are making incredible infrared sensors. Sonar sensors take out

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certain problems. But with vision, for example, back in the 1950s, we

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thought we would saw fit in ten years but we have seen little

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progress. We can classify a telephone or a cup, put the two

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together and you have a cup of a phone or something but it is poor.

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Thank you. There is a lot here and a sure it will fire your

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imagination. Get in touch. Next - this week's Tech News.

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Scientists at the University of Glasgow have pioneered a way to use

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3D printers to create drugs and other chemicals. The process

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involves a robotic we controlled syringe, building the drugs out of

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the gel based ink into which chemicals and catalysts are mixed.

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It is thought manufacturers, doctors and even the public could

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use the technique to download, pre- set recipes and Taylor medicines to

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individual's means. Greenpeace warns of the environmental impact

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towards the trend towards cloud computing. A new report breaks some

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of the biggest firms on how efficient they are data farms are.

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Google performed well while Apple and amazon were rated poorly. The

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canteen group says if the cloud was a country, it would be the fifth

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biggest polluter on the planet. Apple, which do not provide

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information for the report, disputed the figures and says it is

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currently building greener power supplies. Microsoft says its next

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operating system, Windows eight, will come in four flavours,

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including one designed for tablet. The Enterprise and professional

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versions are aimed at business -- businesses. This covert system

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would also work on Pat strain laptops and includes versions of

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Excel, PowerPoint and other operations. A US firm that asked

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the public for $100,000 to create a new type of what has raised more

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than $3 million in just one month. The what, which has a seven-day

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back to life, has an efficient display, links to the user's Apple

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or android phone, allowing them to -- alerting and e-mails or messages.

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It also runs cycling apps. It may even dispense cash at this rate!

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Of -- a window to a virtual world. At the moment, it does not look

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like anybody his home. But the ideas and technology behind this

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are now starting to bring more people together.

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Most of us associate avatars with gaming. A fantasy character we

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control in words -- worlds where we fight battles and without fantasies,

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even own Allam Ireland. Increasingly, the characters are

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not carrying swords. -- our own island. They wear normal clothes

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and look like us because the virtual world they are in a not

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fantasy but designed to mimic the real one. The most popular

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applications are virtual meetings with the number of five-10 persons

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for in 18. We have a virtual conferences where we have something

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like 20-30 people up to hundreds of participants in a conference room.

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And virtual trade shows where thousands of people visit a booth

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and so on. Instead of getting crushed in the hustle and bustle of

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trade shows, you can dig in and out from your desk or laptop. -- dip.

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And then there is the virtual classroom where student avatars

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respond to the real person's movements, picked up by the camera

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on their computer. Teachers can see who is paying attention by seeing

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which way they are looking for posing questions and asking

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students to raise their hands. Over the past few years, these spaces

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have become more simple to create. Now, you can even design want using

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a Facebook app. The use of avatars has several advantages over video.

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It tends to use less bandwidth, allow more people to get involved,

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with a little less personal There is nothing quite like seeing

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someone's face. Their ears. I think he has a bit more hair now. While

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many of us have become familiar with using services like Skype,

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tech giant Cisco is taking it to a new level that is high-definition

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with no light time. It is called telepresence. Because as humans, we

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understand much more than is being said. We have visual beans. 64% of

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communication is non-verbal. It is body language, the look in my eye,

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the tone of my voice. Eyeballing someone across the table is

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important. So rather than placing the camera that catches your image

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above or below the screen you're looking at, US firm DVE have

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managed to put it in the middle, behind the image of the person. The

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screen is semi-transparent plastic with a special metallic coating

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that reflects a projected image of those being beamed in. A Monday

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morning meeting at our offices. Not everyone has turned up but many

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existing the new conferencing systems would struggle to bring

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this many people together. That is no longer a problem. We may no

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longer have an excuse to miss it at all. Here, we had 60 people brought

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together using 19 different video feeds. Polycom says this system can

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support more than 1,000 individual video streams. They do not all need

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specialist kit. Chris is using an iPad here but he

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could be used in any one of a variety of smartphones or tablets.

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-- using. Does that mean employees could be

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forced into conferences at any time of the day like some are expected

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to respond to e-mail now. There is the ability now to work from

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anywhere. Bosses might transfer -- translate that in to an ability to

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work any time. Of course, the work- life balance is something that

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might be a challenge for everybody but there are other mechanisms

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available. As telepresence becomes more realistic so our systems that

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show more of the body and at a more useful visual tools. One of the

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useful things is being able to gesture and use your hands as well

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as your face and the whole body to communicate. We get to the point

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now where through the connection of telepresence with other

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technologies like software that allows you to move virtual objects

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around, this enables a haptic interface to happen. Virtual 3D

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technology is already being used to create effects like holograms on

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stage. Most notably used last weekend at this performance between

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a pre-recorded Tupac and Snoop Dogg who performed live next to him. One

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of the companies behind the performance showed us how it was

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done based on an old Victorian Peter Aleutian called Pepper's

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Ghost. -- Theatre allusion -- illusion. You have a projector here

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and you move the screen here and across that space at a 45 degree

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angle we have our patented foil which reflects the image up into

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the consumer's face. There is a lot of backstage tinkering to get the

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realistic effect. The performer and the image on the right can see and

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hear each other, allowing the onstage artist to interact with the

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projected one. That project is shooting imagery up that way and

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going to the boil that way. I can see where I am and where Lucinda is

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and I can interact. Musion makes its money from the Ming

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performances live to theatres or stadiums globally. Another small

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company thinks this is the way telepresence will be done in the

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future. This system does not rely on a complicated stage set-up.

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Using projection, you can go right up to this image and a holographic

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all volumetric effect is maintained. -- or volumetric effect. To get

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right up close, you might need to ditch the avatar and take the form

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of a robot instead. A French firm but to inside of one, giving you a

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physical presence in the room. Other things apart from your image

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might be communicated. In the future, we will start to get

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interfaces which deal with our breath, heartbeat, and touch

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sensations. At the moment, telepresence is focused on the

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visuals but as other things are added, one day we could literally

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make our presence felt. In this increasingly virtual world,

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it is not uncommon to have close friends you have never actually met.

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Our very own Kate Russell is one of those friends. She never leaves the

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studio and I only ever see her on wine. So, for one week only, we

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brought her with us. She actually exists! Virtual pokes only if you

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don't mind. I have a managed to escape my studio to cut here and

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look at a few websites and apps related to this exhibition and

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Liverpool itself. Replicants is the first of the

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exhibition site I want to show you. This project lets you create a

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posting but for Facebook or Twitter which will simulate your online

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activity. By linking with your other social streams and adding key

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words are vital interests, the bottom will analyse the kinds of

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content you like in oddities and the size and online persona or that

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is an extension of who you are. Once it is installed, you are

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encouraged to activate the Klout app to track any increase in your

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popularity. I have been running this for about a week and it has

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been very pro active posting music suggestions. The first video it

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posted on my behalf was this. I have to say it is probably the best

:20:59.:21:09.
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thing I have ever posted on That said, my Replicants soon went

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a bit mutant, posting all sorts of random things from my Twitter feet.

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So I eliminated it. -- Twitter feed. Next up from reports and avatars, a

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Naked on Pluto. You click on the reports and linked to your social

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streams to turn them into a virtual world populated with people and

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places you know. It is like a text- based adventure game. It creates a

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simulation of your friends based on what it has learnt about you. This

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gain is taxed based and I have a feeling it will have limited appeal.

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An interesting passing curiosity nonetheless. Here is at an unusual

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search tall. The results are not extensive but they are compiled

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into a media with a robotic voice narrating. Here is what it told me

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about this exhibition. Robots and Avatars is a programme of events

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and educational activities which explores how young people will work

:22:28.:22:34.

and play with your representations of physical form. Since we are on

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location, it was a great excuse to turn out -- try out some location

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based apps. Most cities have an events listings site like Liverpool

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Live, where you can Plan A night out and buy tickets. A growing

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number of these sites offer a free smartphone app so you can organise

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things on the move. Many places have Birchall to work out that will

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shake you are a sight to the city might not otherwise have found.

:23:12.:23:16.

LiveTour Liverpool maps out a five mile road starting at a train

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station and leading the past historic buildings and other

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interesting landmarks, including legendary live music venue the

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cavern where the Beatles first made their name. It sucks the life out

:23:32.:23:42.
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of your battery at an alarming rate. That's all we have time for.

:23:48.:23:58.
:23:58.:24:02.

The tech team visit a futuristic expo in Liverpool and explore to what extent we can be in two places at the same time. Includes tech news and Webscape.


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