When we first set eyes on the Telenoid, we were convinced it was not a gadget we'd be comfortable having in our lives. The robot was designed as a telepresence interface; it would act as a sort of speaker phone, expressing emotions and giving you a human face to speak to.
The "human" part needs a little work.
Apparently, though, the Telenoid R1 is perceived as less strange when presented as alien in origin. While on display at the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Austria, visitors received a leaflet about the robot. Each leaflet contained the same information about the robot's functions, but contained one of two different origin stories, or no origin story at all.
The first story was completely dry and straightforward, describing the robot as "a communication robot that could become an alternative for mobile phones or video conferences within a few years time."
However, the second -- the one that made visitors most receptive to the robot -- was described it as a creature from outer space. … Read more