‘telepresence’, a name suggested by my futurist friend Patrick Gunkel. Telepresence emphasizes the importance of high‑quality sensory feedback and suggests future instruments that will feel and work so much like our own hands that we won't notice any significant difference.
Telepresence is not science fiction. We could have a remote‑controlled economy by the twenty‑first century if we start planning right now The technical scope of such a project would be no greater than that of designing a new military aircraft.
A genuine telepresence system requires new ways to sense the various motions of a person's hands. This means new motors, sensors, and lightweight actuators. Prototypes will be complex, but as designs mature, much of that complexity will move from hardware to easily copied computer software. The first ten years of telepresence research will see the development of basic instruments: geometry, mechanics, sensors, effectors, and control theory and its human interface. During the second decade we will work 'to make the instruments rugged, reliable, and natural.