In someone else's shoes
The Omnipresenz project wants to let people see the world without leaving the comfort of their own homes.
A visionary project wants to let people see the world without leaving the comfort of their own homes.
Based in Barcelona, Spain, the Omnipresenz project pairs up its team members, or avatars, with paying users. A real-life avatar wears a helmet that streams high-definition video and live audio to one or more users, who follow—and command—the avatar’s actions. Via a dashboard, the users type their requests, which can be converted to speech in the avatar’s earpiece.
The in-development project intends to be more than virtual tourism, however. It also will allow people to express charitable impulses in real time. If an avatar encounters someone in need of food or medicine, for example, a user could give money directly to the person.
“It is very different if you donate US$10 on the street for a staff member of a foundation that you don’t know very well than to give US$10 and…directly receive the gratitude of the person who needs the resources,” project developer Daniel González Franco told Fast Company. “Ultimately, Omnipresenz is intended to be an exploration in empathy and collective decision-making.”
In April, the project plans to launch its €33,000 beta phase to overcome technical challenges and ultimately broadcast live video anywhere in the world. Currently, avatars are based only in Barcelona, but the Omnipresenz team intends to place them in New York, New York, USA and Tokyo, Japan, among other cities around the globe. —M. Wright
APRIL 2015 PM NETWORK