There’s a new robot in the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library! Meet VGo, a robot specially designed for teleconferencing. VGo moves (literally) beyond more “stationary” methods of teleconferencing such as Skype, GoToMeeting, and the like because the user can physically control the robot to move since this robot is on wheels.
In a demonstration, library staff watched VGo roll up to a desk, tilt the camera angle, and then – upon the screen – we saw the user who was several states away at the time of the teleconference. Using the robot, the demonstrator was able to turn slightly to face the speaker and adjust his camera angle for the most advantageous view of the conference room.
VGo uses WiFi or 4G LTE and, while it can go a full 8-10 hour day on one charge, it can also navigate itself back to its charging station when the time comes (think: Roomba vacuum).
It is up to AUC staff to come up with creative ways to use the robot. Some preliminary ideas include using the robot on our uppermost floor while a staff member at the information desk a floor below answers student queries coming through the VGo. It could be useful in the graduate study suite where there is not a regular librarian on duty. Again in this case, VGo allows a librarian to have a virtual presence with which the graduate students can interact. For any staff member who wanted to be virtually in 2 places at once, this may be the solution!
(photo credit: www.ivci.com)