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Autonomous Telepresence (or AT) is a term coined by Marque Cornblatt to describe an emerging field of study that combines robotics, social networking and human interaction. These elements together enable an entirely new and unique form of two-way communication - remotely operated face-to-face video chat. Using off-the-shelf components, Gomi and found objects, AT was first developed and built by Cornblatt in 1993 in the Sparky series of rovers (also known as the Self Portrait Artifact - Roving Chassis series).
Combining the real-time interaction commonly associated with web-based video chat with the independence of a remotely operated vehicle, AT has become a novel method for human interaction, helping connect people in schools, museums, corporate environment and events.
By the late 1990s the Sparky series had grown to include a wide range of technologies to enable face-to-face interaction, These include the development of unique software and code, as well as the inclusion of Internet, Wi-Fi, and other technologies. AT was featured at the 2007 Interactive Television of Tomorrow show, as well as the American Film Institute Digital Content Festival the same year. AT and Sparky were recently showcased on The History Channel's Modern Marvels program as the future of the telephone.
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