Photographer:Fotograaf: M. Kaisers
Former dean Louis Boon bid farewell to outgoing president Jo Ritzen on Monday afternoon, during a ceremony at the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences. But was Boon not supposed to be on sabbatical leave in New York? That is correct. Boon was not actually present in the flesh in the building on the Kapoenstraat, but used a telepresence robot from the department of knowledge engineering, the first prototype that was made in Maastricht.
Telepresence is a smart alternative to videoconferencing, says project leader Karl Tuyls. The idea is that one gets remote control - via the internet - over a local robot: a monitor with a webcam that is attached to a pole on a moving pedestal. The person controlling the robot can thus ride to a meeting or visit other employees in the building, which is what Boon demonstrated.