Sitting before you is a small, limbless, asexual being resembling Casper the Friendly Ghost, smiling and jerking around as it works to manifest a friend for you, who sits a good distance away speaking into a webcam. What’s going on here?

If Japanese robotist Hiroshi Ishiguro could have his way, this little creation, the Telenoid R1, would likely replace instant messaging and webcams altogether, providing a semi-realistic chat experience with friends remotely.

The Telenoid R1 was designed, according to Ishiguro, to resemble neither a male nor a female, maintaining the same lack of distinction between adult or a child, in an effort to present a “blank slate”–though slightly human–which people could use to communicate with friends remotely. “Casper” uses visual stimulus received from a webcam that captures the host’s movements, which are then interpreted into an eerie song-and-dance as the robot plays the part of the individual in their absence.

Somehow, I don’t see this creation ever out-doing plain ol’ video chat.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

One Reply to “Creepy “Casper” Provides Distant Communication”

  1. PS: BTW Micah, have you noticed that right after the scandal of the alleged Russian spies broke in the news, you mysteriously stopped receiving ‘spam’ comments with cyrilic characters? 😛

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