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USPTO/Victor Tangermann
Robots & Machines

Facebook Wants a Robot to Be Your Personal Photographer

Selfie sticks are so 2015.

Dom GaleonMarch 7th 2018

Smartphones, and the multitude of apps that go with them, have changed users’ photography habits. Taking a snap of everything one does has become almost ceremonial, followed by a mandatory Instagram post. Now, Facebook wants to get in on the photo-taking game.

The social networking giant received a new patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday for a robot that balances on two or three legs. The self-balancing robot is designed to follow users around the house to capture those precious “Instagram-able” moments with its built-in camera, screen, and microphone.

Image credit: Facebook/USPTO
Image credit: Facebook/USPTO.
Taking photos isn’t all this robot can do. It can facilitate video chats over Facebook. The patent also notes that the robot can carry cargo. Plus, it comes with a self-cooling system to control its temperature. Credits for this futuristic personal cameraman goes to Scott C. Wiley, a Facebook employee who perviously worked for a telepresence robotics firm.

Telepresence robots, which seem to be the inspiration behind Facebook’s new personal photographer, are essentially videoconferencing screens mounted on moving bases. Professionals use these robots to remotely attend meetings or galas,  projecting their faces on the screen and interacting with people as the robot perambulates around the room.

More Like a Personal Paparazzi

Facebook’s robotic cameraman works pretty much the same way; CNN notes that there’s vast potential for the new product. Assuming, of course, that this Facebook-branded robot makes it beyond just a patent and into actual production. It’s difficult to tell at this point, especially since telepresence robots haven’t really found a solid market yet.

Who needs a selfie stick if you have a robot that’s designed to take photos of you all the time? Still, having a robot that follows you around can be quite disconcerting. Sure, it might be able to capture your best candid moments while you enjoy personal and family time, but it might also not just stop there. Last we checked, nobody wants a personal bot-parazzi.

Having another in-home artificial intelligence devices that watches everything you do case could become problematic. It could just be plain bothersome, or devolve into an ethical nuisance. And what’s to say the paparazzi robot would keep your photos secure? After all, keeping its users’ personal data private isn’t exactly one of Facebook’s strongest suits.

For now, it might be best to just stick to taking our own photos when and how we want to.

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