Being There
By Clive Thompson

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Meet the "Tele-Actor," wired up with a camera, microphones, and a wireless Internet connection. Send a Tele-Actor out to a location, and you see what it sees and hear what it hears. Multiple participants can log on, all sharing the same viewpoint, all helping to direct the action. "It lets anyone tap into a remote experience--a sports event, a conference, maybe even a place too dangerous for most people, like a war zone," says Ken Goldberg, an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Goldberg created the idea with a team of colleagues as part of their experiments in "telepresence," which uses technology to break down distance; as bandwidth improves and camera tech gets cheaper, they see Tele-Actors becoming common. They're certainly a hell of a fashion statement.

--C.T.