Introduction and Guide to Telepresence Robots

Sometimes you are faced with a tough situation when you need to be in two places at the same time. We are now in an age where advancements in robotics and modern engineering can make it possible. Smart devices and internet connectivity have enabled us to attend a conference meeting thousands of miles away without being physically there.

But we also have a more sophisticated device that has made it possible for you to see, hear, and navigate spaces that you do not physically inhabit. This device is known as a telepresence robot. You can use one in different settings, like a corporate office, a hospital, or even in your home when you’re far away. Simply log in to your robot and be there in an instant, which is what telepresence robots are about. 

What is a Telepresence Robot? 

a telepresence robot from various angles. 

A telepresence robot is a controllable device that you can operate via WiFi. Where video conferencing lets you be seen, a telepresence robotic device can give your communication a whole new level of realism. It is usually designed with a tall, slender body equipped with wheels and a tablet-style computer. The wheels enable it to navigate through the area, while the computer gives it audio and video capabilities for easy two-way communication.

This device creates your virtual presence or “telepresence” by letting you and the people around it interact with each other. It serves as your mobile eyes, ears, mouth, and legs, so you can remotely be present at any location that has a reliable internet connection. You have complete control over what you can see and hear. There is no need for people to move in front of the camera for you to see them – with a telepresence robotic device, you can simply face them.

What Can a Telepresence Robot Do? 

Healthcare professional using a telepresence robotic device to help a patient 

A telepresence robot can transmit and stimulate your virtual presence with its gestures, audio and video signals. It can mimic your presence, even when you are actually not present in that place. Here is what else it can do in various environments:


A telepresence robotic device can be very useful in an office setup. Corporate officials who have a lot to do in very little time can do with some help from telecommunication. They can make use of the auditory and visual equipment of the robot, giving off a feeling that the gadget is an extension of their consciousness while conducting remote conferences. 


On the business front, a telepresence robot can greatly facilitate communication links. Remote employees, who often miss out every day human interaction and teamwork, can use this smart device to join team projects and meetings, casual pantry conversations and other personal engagement. 


The advancement of robotics has also given birth to medical telepresence robots. These devices can help reduce some of the stress on healthcare practitioners. Doctors can use these devices to examine a patient, and manage the situation without being actually there. These robots can also be used to provide home care for the elderly. 


Telepresence robots can revolutionize the concept of remote education. While video conferencing is the most common way of conducting a distance learning lesson, using telepresence robots make the experience more immersive. Children who are sick or injured can use these to keep up with their studies too. 

Benefits of Telepresence Robots

A telepresence robot goes beyond traditional video conferencing, providing you with the closest experience of being at a place that you are not physically present at. The following are some advantages of using a telepresence robot:

Mimic Lifelike Experience

Unlike regular video meetings, telepresence is an immersive video experience. Using this technology, a telepresence robotic device, mimics a lifelike experience by transmitting high-definition images and audio.

Gives You a Better Feeling of Control 

When you are conducting a video conference, you are only restricted to a screen and what you can see in front of it.  With telepresence technology, you can enjoy more subtle experiences. Your telepresence robotic device can move around the room to interact with the people present there. Being telepresent gives you a greater feeling of control. 

Make Risky Tasks Safer 

In their line of work, police forces, structural engineers and other professionals have to get into potentially dangerous areas. Rather than sending a human task force, organizations can have professionals be telepresent in such life threatening situations. This allows experts to come and scope out the problem using their knowledge, without risking their lives.

Reduce Traveling Costs 

Being telepresent enables you to visit three or four cities without wasting time in packing and traveling. Being telepresent enables you to conduct more meetings, even if they are happening in different countries. This greatly lowers your travel expenditure and helps you save time that otherwise might have been spent on long flights. 

Protect Your Home 

If you are often away from your home, a telepresence robot can help you keep a watchful eye on your home. Combine one with a motion sensor and keep your home safe from burglar attacks. 

Bring Your Loved Ones Closer 

We all have at least one loved one who lives far away. Of course, it is difficult to see each other very often, you can be telepresent in each other’s life to remain close. 

Limitations of Telepresence Robots

The list of all the good that a telepresence can do is very long. However, there are some limitations to its operation that you should be aware of, including:

  • Telepresence robots cannot climb stairs.
  • They require a stable internet connection to be able to work.
  • Not every telepresence robot has life-size, high-definition audio and video capabilities.
  • These robots also have little capacity for spontaneous social interaction. 
  • Their battery life tends to be short.
  • Needs to be integrated with the security system for watch keeping.
  • Operating one of these is a demanding task that needs your complete attention.
  • Telepresence technology is still lagging in human empathy. 
  • These smart devices cannot shape communication to suit the audience and the circumstances. 
  • This robotic technology has an expensive upfront cost. Not to forget the operating charges that you will incur for keeping it running.


We used to communicate over phones with our voice, then came video communication, and now telepresence robots are revolutionizing telecommunication. Unlike video calls, these smart devices are more impersonable. You can use telepresence technology to be virtually present at any place. It’s not just about seeing and reacting to whatever is in front of the screen.

You can remotely pilot the device to move around, mimic your actions, and interact with the surrounding people. Despite being useful, a telepresence robotic device also has its limitations. So, be sure to consider both their advantages and disadvantages and then decide whether you really need one.