Hackney company prepares youngsters for the workplace of the future

PUBLISHED: 17:07 30 November 2010

Avatar Orla helps children to learn to use new technologies

Avatar Orla helps children to learn to use new technologies


Telepresence could be common in five to 10 years, says Robots and Avatars director

Ghislaine Boddington, director Robots and Avatars, at her office on Vyner St on 11th Nov 2010

It is a catch phrase embedded in science fiction and fantasy futures – but the famous one-liner “Beam me up Scotty” has inspired a former dancer to teach youngsters how to use technology in years to come.

Ghislaine Boddington, director of Robots and Avatars, predicts that in the next five to 10 years telepresence will be widely used in the workplace.

And her team, based in Vyner Street, South Hackney, is helping schoolchildren to prepare.

Telepresence enables a person to feel and appear as if they are somewhere else through robotics and video broadcasting.

In theory, it means we could go to the supermarket from the sofa, dance with a friend in the flat below or shake hands with a colleague on the other side of the world.

“You can start to see how young people today will need skills in telepresence for the work place in the future,” said Ghislaine.

“It is about how these new technologies move us forward. How does it affect our day-to-day business? How does it fit into work, play and family life?”

Ghislaine is now using her experience as a dancer to teach schoolchildren how to move in this new world of equipment.

“I was always fascinated with the phrase ‘Beam me up Scotty’ and I thought: ‘Why hasn’t this been done?’” she said.

“I was caught up in sci-fi from a when I was very little.”

Robots and Avatars uses big screens on opposite walls, along with Orla – a computer-generated representation – in the training.

“It takes a while for them to get used to it. It is a slightly different way of using your body,” she said.

“But people are really creative.”

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