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Telepresence a human/machine system in which the human uses of (head-mounted) displays and body-operated remote actuators and sensors to control distant machinery. Provides a virtual environment for humans to control devices, robots, etc., in a hostile or remote real environment.

Transparent telepresence is the experience of being fully present at a live real world location remote from one's own physical location. Someone experiencing transparent telepresence would therefore be able to behave, and receive stimuli, as though at the remote site (when we talk about telepresence in this article, we only talk about transparent telepresence).

The resulting vicarious interactive participation in activities, and the carrying out of physical work, brings benefits to a wide range of users. Examples include the emergency and security services, entertainment and education industries, and those of restricted mobility such as the disabled or elderly.

For any telepresence system there are three essential sub-systems, i.e. the home site technology which interfaces to the user and the communication link, the communication link itself which interfaces to the home site and the remote site, and the remote site technology which interfaces with the communication link and possibly a remote site human.


Subsea Work

The cost of operations using deep water divers is extremely high due to safety regulations, hyperbaric equipment, time spent in decompression, and support vessel costs. Telepresence systems for inspection and teleoperation for repair and maintenance would again realise cost benefits and in addition would remove divers from a hazardous environment.

Hazardous Environments

Many other applications in situations where humans are exposed to hazardous situations are readily recognised as suitable candidates for telepresence. Mining, bomb disposal, military operations, rescue of victims from fire, toxic atmospheres, or even hostage situations, are some examples.

Remote Surgery

The possibility of being able to project the knowledge and the physical skill of a surgeon over long distances has many attractions. Thus again there is considerable research underway in the subject. The armed forces have an obvious interest since the combination of telepresence, teleoperation, and telerobotics can potentially save the lives of battle casualties by allowing them prompt attention in mobile operating theatres by remote surgeons.


The benefits of enabling schoolchildren to take an active part in exploration have been shown by the JASON and the NASA Ames Research Centre programmes. The ability of a pupil, student, or researcher to explore an otherwise inaccessible location is a very attractive proposition. For example locations where the passage of too many people is harming the immediate environment or the artefacts themselves, e.g. undersea exploration of coral reefs, ancient Egyptian tombs and more recent works of art.

Advertising and Sales

Tour operators and property agents would be able to use telepresence to allow potential customers to sample holiday locations and view properties remotely before investigating further.


Telepresence systems could be incorporated into theme or nature parks to allow observers to travel through coral reefs, explore underground caves, or in amusement parks the elderly or infirm could experience the thrill of live roller coaster rides without the associated risks.

In the games, the user can interact using telepresence, sharing robots to interact one human with the other (paired objects as remote surrogate actors). That is, if one partner shakes the object, the remote object also shakes.

See also

telerobotics, teledildonics.

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