MOBI is a human sized telepresence robot that users remotely control to move
through distant environments, see through its camera eye, talk through
its speakers and hear via its microphone ear. Simultaneously a life
sized image of themselves is projected onto the robots LCD face,
creating a robotic avatar. MOBI allows people to "explore far away art
shows, attend distant presentations and make public appearences from
anywhere on earth, thus helping to reduce air travel and reduce global
MOBIs are mobile robots that can look, listen and speak, that is, when controlled by a user who is located elsewhere. MOBI stands for Mobile Operating Bidirectional Interface. Each MOBI is equipped with a camera, speakers and a microphone and allows the user to create a presence in another place. MOBIs are made by the Canadian artist Graham Smith, who has been conducting artistic research into telepresence since 1993. Of course we have long been able to make our presence felt in other places, in real time, even, ever since the invention of the telephone. Webcams are an everyday phenomenon, and lectures held via videoconferencing do not surprise us. But telephones, webcams and videoconferencing do not create a bodily presence in another space. MOBIs, meanwhile, enable tangible physical presence elsewhere. You can use a MOBI to visit the DEAF exhibition without getting out of your chair, and even to talk to other visitors. (Interacting with the art, though, will be a problem -- for one thing, MOBIs lack flexible arms or fingers). MOBIs have a theatrical aspect in that the user becomes a performer before an audience of exhibition visitors.