Insect Telepresence: Using Robotic Tele-Embodiment to Bring Insects Face-to-Face with Humans

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The Insect Telepresence project combines expertise from the robotics and human-computer interaction communities to create a robot exhibit that enables telepresence in scale. The underlying mission of this work is educational: to promote appreciation for insect life and small-scale complexity through exploration of live insect colonies. In this article we describe the robot hardware and software used to bring students face-to-face with insects. We also summarize the user-centered design process and formal HCI methods used to design and evaluate the Insect Telepresence robot. The complete working exhibit, now installed as a permanent robot-entomology station at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, is presented in this paper in words and pictures.

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