A father has turned himself into a robot so that he can spend some quality time with his sons
Matt Walker from Brisbane in Australia has moved to San Jose in California with his second wife and their seven-month-old son.
The move means he has left his two children from his first marriage, 9-year-old Jarvis and 7-year-old Maxi, behind.
Because of the distance, he built the RambleBot.
The miniature white tank enables a smartphone to be placed on top of the robot and there is also a grabby arm so Matt can join inwith the kids’ games.
For the last three years, when he can’t make it over to see them, Matt uses the RambleBot to chat and hang out with them.
It lives at his ex-wife’s house 11,410 kilometres away in Brisbane, controlling the robot with an app and talking via Skype.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said: “Telepresence will never be as good as being there in real life.
“However it’s actually easier to play hide and seek, I’m able to hide in the most obscure corners and under beds!”
The father-of-three says it has made the biggest impact with his son Maxi, who has autism and doesn’t normally look his parents in the eye but when he talks to the robot he looks straight at the screen.
The children’s mum, Sharon, says having Matt visit as a robot is much easier: “At first I was like, ‘What the hell?!’ but it’s actually pretty cool”.
“It helps Matt have control of the view and everything he’s doing, and it also means I don’t have to be there every second.”
The tough situation with the positive outcome has led the dad to sell two different types of the robot he created.