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24 May 2006

The (haptic) butler did it.

Under the theme of looking for a job a number of opportunities have come up that are not in easy commuting distance from where I live.

Could I do them remotely? Unlikely.
Would I have to stay away for a few days a week? Possibly.
If I didn't limit myself geographically could I have more opportunities? Probably.
Do lots of people have these problems and have to spend time away from home. Definitely.

Many jobs, especially involving consulting and visits to customer sites can involve a lot of travel. I was once offered a job by IBM which had "extensive and extended" periods of travel in the contract, they certainly weren't mincing their words.

This then raises the issue of what's the best way to attempt to maintain a family relationship when you're hundreds of miles away most of the time. Difficult, but certainly technology could help.

The idea of buying a laptop with wireless connectivity would allow me to appear on the laptop reading bedtime stories even though I might be hundreds of miles away. Certainly an opener, but what about haptic technology?

This is the technology which is now being adopted in medicine where surgeons can operate at a distance through special gloves that record their movements, transmit those movements across the internet and remotely operate a corresponding robot hand, possibly in a remote location.

This could have applications for the unfortunate remote worker. Faced with whiling away the boring hours in a sanitised hotel bedroom channel hopping, they could have a haptic robot at home copying their movements.

This would allow the remote worker to do the ironing at home, tidy away the clothes, vacuum the house, wash the dishes, load the washing machine, cook dinner and do all those interesting chores that they think they've escaped from. A remotely controlled haptic robotic with a webcam would be able to do them all, with a little help from the teleworker seeing what the robot sees and directing its movements.

Just think, if your partner lives in the UK and you're sent to the US on business, you could even do all the housework for them while they're asleep.

You need never be bored again.
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