Willow Garage's Texai Telepresence Robot Makes a Cameo Appearance on Big Bang Theory

Texai telepresence robot on Big Bang Theory

Tonight's episode of Big Bang Theory, a comedy sitcom about CalTech scientists / engineers, prominently featured a telepresence robot as "Shel-Bot."  Specifically, the show featured Willow Garage's telepresence robot called Texai that was covered in the NY Times just a few weeks ago.  Apparently this is the second robot appearance in Big Bang Theory's new season (one in each of two new episodes) -- though I have yet to watch last week's episode with a "gratifying" robot manipulator. It's so nice to see real robots on TV, though I'm sure my wife could live without my excited banter and shutter clicks as I (literally) take screenshots with our DSLR camera (see shots below).

Texai Telepresence robot on Big Bang Theory   Texai Telepresence robot on Big Bang Theory

Texai Telepresence robot on Big Bang Theory  Texai Telepresence robot on Big Bang Theory


Incidentally, I managed to locate better screenshots on TV.com, along with this description:

Sheldon (Jim Parsons) realizes he won't live long enough to download his consciousness into a robot body, and attempts to extend his lifespan, much to Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) chagrin on The Big Bang Theory from the episode "The Cruciferous Veg"

Telepresence Robot on Big Bang Theory  Telepresence Robot on Big Bang Theory


For comparison, here is a photo taken at the Willow Garage Beta Program launch party by Norri Kageki of GetRobo picturing Evan Ackerman of BotJunkie (left), Erico Guizzo of IEEE Spectrum Automation blog (middle via Texai), and myself (right).

Travis Deyle with Texai Robot



And though I've yet to watch last week's episode (so don't give it away!), I did find a telling description & screenshot on TV.com:

Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) finds a new use for a robotic arm on The Big Bang Theory from the episode "The Robotic Manipulation".

Robot arm on Big Bang Theory



Willow Garage just posted about the episode, and they include a nice video clip from CBS:

—Travis Deyle

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