Watch The Americans play Tom Waits together, apart

Hold On

We’ve been singing this Tom Waits song since we were kids (this time with some serendipitous lighting effects)

Posted by The Americans on Saturday, April 18, 2020

Faced with forced isolation, creative musicians are pushing the limits of telepresence tech to play together, apart. In the video above, my favorite roots rockers The Americans cover Tom Waits' "Hold On" from three different locations connected only by iPhone. The result is magnificent.

Below, The Americans' soulful take on Guitar Slim's 1954 breakthrough R&B hit "The Things I Used To Do." See more clips on their Facebook page.

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The world's longest operating webcam is going offline

In 1994, Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong fired up the San Francisco FogCam. For 25 years, it kept a constant vigil on the San Francisco State University campus, making the FogCam the longest operating webcam in history. (The first webcam, the Trojan Room coffee pot cam, went online in 1991 and shut down in 2001.) At the end of the month, Schwartz and Wong will turn off the FogCam. From SF Gate:

"Our webcam is a throwback to the early days of the Internet when anyone could do anything," Schwartz said.

The webcam will be switched off on August 30, but Schwartz says the website itself will be kept up "for sake of posterity."

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Snowden's flesh is trapped in Russia, but his mind roams the world in a robot body

The Snowbot -- a $14,000 Beampro telepresence robot that Edward Snowden pilots from Moscow -- is becoming a fixture at conferences, meetings, and in the halls of power in the USA, where Snowden is a frequent invited guest. Read the rest

The Headset Revolution will be a blizzard of conflicting realities—if it happens, that is

Artists and journalists will use virtual reality to transform perception—and virtual reality will transform everything. Jason Louv stares into the Rift between promise and product.

Telerobotic baseball fans

Korea's Hanwha Eagles baseball team have installed rows of telerobot "fans" in the stadium that are controlled by remote spectators. (Thanks, Chris Arkenberg!)

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Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure

Edward Snowden routinely hangs around at the New York ACLU offices by means of a BEAM telepresence robot, through which he can meet with journalists for "face-to-face" interviews. During a recent interview with Julia Prosinger from Der Tagesspeiggel, Prosinger had her first-ever epileptic seizure, brought on by the flickering screen where he appeared. Read the rest

Toyota's new robot

This is Toyota's new arm-wresting robot. Apparently, its other application is for "human support" such as assisting disabled people and caring for the elderly in their homes. The robot's body can raise up and down and its tablet head is well-suited for telepresence. Toyota's Human Support Robot (via IEEE Spectrum) Read the rest