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Telepresence, or presence, refers to a type of technology that allows the users of the technology to feel present in the given environment without being there physically. The feeling of presence, or of being there, is often accomplished through visual or audio stimuli.

Uses of Telepresence

Cisco Systems

Telepresence videoconferencing.

Today, Cisco Systems is a major contributor of telepresence in their technological products. By implementing telepresence in businesses, it creates more efficient collaboration between employees. It allows people to connect all around the world, share content and ideas, create video recordings and events, consult and collaborate with experts, and deliver personalized services in an immersive, face-to-face environment.


The use of robots for telepresence has many prectical applications, ranging from school uses, medical uses, and uses in the business world. A robot used for telepresece world typically feature a display with a camera, speakers, microphone, screen, and possibly more; that display would be attached to motorized wheeled mount. A person could remotely control this robot, and record their voice and image to be output from the robot's display. One would then be able to remotely interact with the community surrounding the robot through the display and movement controls. The robot would be able to say connected to the host as long as there is internet connection. This technology could be used for students who have sever health problems and are not able to normally attend school, medical professionals use robotic telepresence for surgery and the ability to respond to medical emergencies faster.[1]

Lombard and Ditton

The standard view of telepresence, as defined by Lombard and Ditton is as follows:

  1. Presence is reduced to a type of perception, for example visual perception, for example seeing some geographical shapes and colors
  2. The type of perception in (1) is then specified, cognitively, as a special kind of experience, namely a psychological, subjective, meaningful interpretation of the experience; for example, experiencing the above-mentioned colors and shapes as a specified type of environment, for example a valley on Mars.
  3. The special kind of experience in (2) is further qualified, semantically, as a perception of contents that fails at least partially, momentarily, or occasionally, to be a perception of its machine-mediated nature as well, in out example, this means having the impression of being on Mars and failing to realize that it is actually a computer-mediated environment [2]


Luciano Floridi presents a different view of telepresence, known as a successful observation. In Floridi's model of telepresence there are two different types of telepresence, forward and backward.

Forward Teleprsence

Forward telepresence happens whenever something is transferred from real life to a technological presence. This can be defined as any action going from a local space of observation to a remote space of observation[2].

A graphical representation for Forward Telepresence.


Backward Telepresence

Backward telepresence happens when the technology draws the user into the technological world. This is known as action going from a remote space of observation to a local space of observation [2].

A graphical representation for Backward Telepresence.


  • Telethons: using phone to call television
  • High Definition
  • Video Games

Ethical Issues


A protection of the data gathered through telepresence is very important. With telepresence used to conduct possibly confidential business meetings, or a telepresence robot being around during everyday life and possibly recording sensitive personal information, the protection of this data is vital to concerns of privacy and the expanding use of technolongy. The question of who has access to this data, and if they should have access to this data also is of much concern.[3]


With telepresence, the digital and real world can be merged together, which brings up concerns of transparency and whether the barrier between real life and technology should exist or not.

See Also

External Links


  1. What is a Telepresence Robot and what can they do?Retrieved April 23 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Floridi, Luciano. The philosophy of presence: From epistemic failure to successful observation. Presence (Cambridge, Mass.) 14.6 01 Dec 2005: 656-667. MIT Press. 18 Dec 2011.
  3. Barabas, Chelsea, Bavitz, Christopher, Matias, J. Nathan, Xie, Cecillia, Xu, Jack LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN THE USE OF TELEPRESENCE ROBOTS: BEST PRACTICES AND TOOLKIT University of Washington School of Law, March 27 2015. Retrieved on April 23 2017

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