The mind-controlled robot that could end sick days

The mind-controlled robot that could end sick days

A new robot has come to town, and this one is reducing absenteeism.

The Melbourne-based company Aubot has created a ‘telepresence robot’ that can be controlled by the brain. Dubbed ‘Teleport’, the technology allows users to be in two places at once.

Meaning that not only can business leaders and senior members of staff be present in multiple offices around the world, but those tucked up in bed sick can still attend important meetings.

Marita Cheng, Founder and CEO of Aubot, talks to Mashable about the latter: “Rather than missing out on work when they’re sick, they can send the robot to work. They can still go to meetings at work by putting on this headset and participating via our telepresence robot.

“All someone has to do is think, and the robot will move.”

It is controlled through an EEG headset and was originally designed to allow those with disabilities to visit places remotely. However, Cheng has highlighted numerous other business uses for the robot, including a remedy for absenteeism.

However, a recent study from CV-Library shows that over two-thirds (67.5%) of UK employees go in to work when sick. Furthermore, 86.5% of workers feel much less productive at work when they are unwell and 84% of workers admit they believe they shouldn’t be going in.

Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of CV-Library, comments: “Staff productivity and wellbeing are key contributors to the success of any business and this is why it’s important to promote best practice in the workplace. Breeding a culture that encourages people to come to work when sick is not beneficial to employees or businesses and if workers are clearly ill, they should be advised to go home and recover.”

Based on this, it may still not be a good idea to have technology that encourages people to work when they are ill. However, a telepresence robot could reduce presenteeism – as employees may be less likely to come in to the office and only attend key meetings remotely.

A video demonstration of the robot on the company’s YouTube channel shows examples of individuals who are paralysed using their minds to control it. While the idea of using the robot for sick employees may have HR on the fence, there are less controversial uses that can definitely benefit businesses.

One user says: “I could go through a museum in America or see polar bears in the Arctic.” And although observing art or wildlife may not be profitable, having a presence in multiple offices could be.

What are your thoughts? Could you see a use for such a robot in your business? 

  • Roland Scales
    Roland Scales
    Fri, 3 Feb 2017 10:00am GMT
    Yes, but... Ever tried to think constructively when you've got a migraine?

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