This robot backpack is actually a helping pair of hands controlled by a human

Cost and engineering constraints mean most telepresence robots are variants on the iPad-on-a-stick form factor. But they don’t have to be. Just look at this prototype telepresence bot built by engineers from Japan’s Keio University and the University of Tokyo. It’s basically a robot backpack with two arms and a head that can be operated remotely by a human using a VR headset and controllers. It’s fun, ingenious, and even slightly cute.

The bot is called Fusion, and its form is supposed to encourage collaboration and learning at a distance, says lead designer Yamen Saraiji. Speaking to The Verge, Saraiji says he wanted to create a “body-sharing experience,” so he placed the robot’s arms directly behind the wearer while outfitting the bot…

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