What is a cool alternative for a telepresence robot? Take a look at the video and you will see what we did on a conference here in Berlin together with David Orban.

If you want to give a speech at a conference and can’t be physically there, you can use a telepresence robot.

  • Event: Frontier Health conference

  • Client: David Orban

  • Number of guests: about 500

  • Location: Kraftwerk Kreuzberg, Berlin

  • Act: Speaker doubling using robot costume “Steve Machine

What is a telepresence robot doing with your presence on stage?

A telepresence robot is a nice invention that combines a video conference with a segway. That means your head is put on an iPad. And this iPad is put on a stick.

This is all right if you have nothing else, but your presence on stage is going absolutely drop.

If you are familiar with acting you know, you can play a high status and a low status. In acting that is ok. It depends on the character you are playing and on the situation the character is in. When you give a speech on a stage, you absolutely want your status very high.

So what to do instead? 

So if you want to give a speech and can’t be personal on stage and you don’t want to use a telepresence robot, you are in a kind of a dilemma.

David Orban was in this very situation, so he came up with an Idea: Why don’t put a iPad on the head of a mime, so David can give the speech and the mime would doubling the body language and the gestures. It’s not only very entertaining. It gives a lot of attention to the speaker.

The Conference was here in Berlin and David was looking for a mime in Berlin. We got in contact over a friend and David told me about his Idea.

I suggested, let’s put the iPad on a costume i already use for moderation on stage. The costume goes by the name “steve machine“.

So we put an iPad on the head of „Steve Machine“. We used a video chat (FaceTime worked better than skype) to bring davids face and voice to the screen. At conferences you have the problem that the wifi is slow because of the many people using it. So the organizers got us an extra wifi and shut down the public wifi during the speech.

Pictures from the Talk

First testing

David explains his point of view

look to the stage

Interview with the host

Close up to talker double

close up to the back

The Hug

End of performance

stefan is going to the audience

And that’s it.

Thanks David for trying this out with me.

What do you prefer? Going with an telepresence robot, doubling via a mime or do you have another idea? Give me your opinion in the comments.

pictures: Frontier Health