President meets guest via telepresence robot in the White House for the first time

[Telepresence history at the White House! This is from Tech Times and more images, and a video of the event, are available from the Disability Visibility Project blog. Gizmodo broadens the focus with “The 5 Best Times Obama Met With Robots.” –Matthew]

President Obama and Alice Wong (via telepresence robot) at the White House

[Image: President Obama greets Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project Founder, via Beam Pro telepresence robot before a White House reception to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans Disabilities Act. Posted on Instagram by Pete Souza (@petesouza).]

POTUS Meets Robot Guest In The White House For The First Time

By J.E. Reich, Tech Times | July 21

So here’s the future, I guess: you can now meet President Obama via robot — or that is, if you’re the awesome Alice Wong, founder and project coordinator of the Disability Visibility Project, you can.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), President Barack Obama invited prominent members of the disability community to the White House, Wong among them. Unable to attend in person, Wong used a telepresence robot called a Beam Pro.

Designed primarily for telecommunicative office use, the Beam Pro is meant to “[connect] people and keeps organizational culture alive by empowering spontaneous and independent interaction,” according to the company website.

Another attendee posted a photo of Wong (via Beam Pro) and POTUS on Instagram [above]. Likewise, Wong also tweeted a photo from her end.

Alice Wong tweet about meeting President Obama

Beam Pro is a rechargeable mobile Smart Presence System (SPS) piloted and controlled by an app, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Wong’s history-making move is not only a triumph for visibility on behalf of those living with disabilities, but also for telepresence technology — illustrating that outside-the-box thinking can lead to unimaginable possibilities. (And meeting POTUS isn’t too shabby, either.)

See Beam Pro in action in the [1:38 minute] video [here].


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