If the thought of sitting through yet another meeting fills you with dread, you’ll be happy to hear that you could pay a ‘surrogate’ to sit through it for you.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have designed a bizarre new system in which someone straps a screen to their face, and fills in for someone else.
The system, called ‘Chameleon Mask’, was shown at the EmTech Asia conference in Singapore this week.
In a paper about the system, the researchers said: “Chameleonmask is a telepresence system that shows a remote user’s face on the other user’s face.
“While most telepresence systems have been designed to provide a remote user’s existence with a teleoperated robot, the system uses a real human as a surrogate for another remote user."
With the system, the ‘surrogate’ wears a tablet on their face that shows live footage of a remote user’s face.
The tablet will also transmit the user’s voice in real time.
During trials, the researchers tested the system in two scenarios – a grandmother reacting to her granddaughter’s face on a surrogate’s body, and a woman applying for a residence certificate by using her face on a surrogate’s body.
Results showed that the grandmother really believed the granddaughter’s surrogate was her.
But the residence officer wasn’t so convinced.
He declined the residence certificate, claiming that he didn’t believe the surrogate was the person on the screen.
The researchers said: “Our results suggest that local listeners tend to believe that the masked surrogate is the director, which induces a ‘being there’ experience.”
The system is still a concept, and it is unclear when, or if, it will become available.