Coming soon: The robo-boss?

The technology, called robotic telepresence, is already under development by dozens of companies and takes teleconferencing to the next level by allowing users to freely move through a remote workplace via a robot.

This means executives can monitor and manage teams from any location, switch their presence among branch offices thousands of miles apart, and visit and interact with colleagues in their work space — all while navigating robotic avatars…

Researchers are also trying to find ways to make the human-robot interaction seem more like the users are really present. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, for example, researchers are developing a telepresence robot that can also convey body language through robotic arms.

“When we communicate, we also observe body motions to understand meaning,” said Lam Tin-lun, a research fellow at the university’s Advanced Robotics Lab who is heading the project.