Exclusive: The Man Behind the Robot That Delivers a TEDx Talk

You want to give a talk on the other side of the world but can't be there. What can you do?

"A humanoid avatar is probably better than just a face on the screen." says Dr. Paul Bremner, who delivered a TEDx talk through humanoid robot avatar Bob.

Build More Trust and Feel More Confident
When you chat on Skype, you can't see people's body language and fully engage. With a robot avatar, you can use gestures and head movements. People feel like you're talking directly to them, and trust you more.

Bremner felt less nervous when the robot was presenting for him, "The audience focused on the robot rather than on me." He could feel more comfortable and didn't worry about what people think about him.

Using a Robot Avatar is Easier than You Think
How much does a robot avatar cost? "It's just over £5,000 now." says Bremner, "We're doing some development work. You can 3D print all parts and connect together so the robot becomes cheaper."

It is simple to use a humanoid robot avatar. First, wear a virtual reality headset so you can look directly to the audience. You can even show notes on the screen (People won't even know you're reading notes). Then, use a microphone to project your voice. Finally, record the talk with your headset so you can ask a speaking coach for feedback.

Why a Robot Should Never Look Human
You may be asking, "Why don't we makes robots look human?" A robot in Japan looks like a person but isn't perfect. People feel like the robot is trying to trick them. They don't trust the robot. Bremner adds, "You want it to look like a robot because people don't like to feel like they're being fooled."

The Future of TED: TEDRobots?
The humanoid robot avatar could help people communicate more effectively. In the future, we might see a event called TEDRobots, where people use robots with different looks and personalities to deliver talks.

Chris Anderson, TED curator, you're welcome for the idea.

Would you use a robot avatar to deliver a talk? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.