Welcome to the workshop on
"Toward Robot Avatars: Perspectives on the ANA Avatar XPRIZE Compeitition"
The ANA Avatar XPRIZE is an international, $10 million competition to build a telerobotic “avatar” system
that allows human operators to transport their senses, action, and presence across long distances. Potential applications
of avatars are diverse and include telecommuting, emergency response, service, healthcare, space, and tourism sectors.
In fall 2021, 38 teams from 16 countries competed in the XPRIZE Semifinals for a $2 million semifinals prize purse and
a chance to participate in the Finals, which will be held in September or October of 2022. This is a relevant and topical
area in robotics research because avatars represent a next generation of telecommuting devices that enable workers to not
only communicate through audio and video, but also navigate and manipulate objects in the remote environment. The process
of developing a robotic avatar touches on many areas of robotics research, including telerobotics, haptics, tactile sensing,
robot hands, VR/AR, and human robot-interaction.
The XPRIZE competition has attracted participation from dozens of academic and industry teams and is highly visible in robotics conferences and the media. Therefore, we believe the topic will be of great interest to RSS attendees, including not only XPRIZE participants but also the RSS community at large. This workshop is an opportune time for XPRIZE teams, observers, and researchers in related areas to discuss their perspectives on the current state of avatar technology, as well as future research challenges in the areas of telerobotics, haptics, VR/AR, and human-robot interaction. The program will consist of invited speakers, contributed talks and demos, and an expert panel.