2-MPH Robot Allows Edward Snowden to Be in Two Countries at Once
Depending on where you stand on the debate between transparency and national security, Edward Snowden is either a hero or a threat. Since his subsequent exile to Hong Kong or Russia, he has still been able to communicate with individuals in the United States and elsewhere. To be more than just a face on a screen, he has employed a very unique vehicle.
It is called the Beam Pro remote presence system and it presents Snowden’s signal from the other side of the globe on a screen suspended by a rolling robot. Call him Snow-Bot if you’d like, but according to Wired, it has helped keep the hacker-turned-internet activist relevant in a world where some want to silence him and other cannot get enough of what he has to say.
Snowden may be in Moscow, but he can activate the Beam Bot remotely, and even control its direction using arrows on his keyboard. It allows him to wheel around the offices of the ACLU, where Snowden sits on the board for the group’s Freedom of the Press Foundation. The $16,000 rolling robot was also used for Snowden to present at a recent TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk earlier this year.
The ability of Snowden to move the Beam Bot about on its own is truly significant in that he has control over his audience. The robot is more substantial than just a non-mobile screen, and in a world where the transference of ideas is the true currency, Snowden’s mobile robot is an extremely important piece of equipment and will continue to change the way we communicate.