Beyond Webcams

Beyond Webcams

An Introduction to Online Robots

Edited by Ken Goldberg and Roland Siegwart

The design, function, and challenges of online telerobotic systems.





The design, function, and challenges of online telerobotic systems.

Remote-controlled robots were first developed in the 1940s to handle radioactive materials. Trained experts now use them to explore deep in sea and space, to defuse bombs, and to clean up hazardous spills. Today robots can be controlled by anyone on the Internet. Such robots include cameras that not only allow us to look, but also go beyond Webcams: they enable us to control the telerobots' movements and actions.

This book summarizes the state of the art in Internet telerobots. It includes robots that navigate undersea, drive on Mars, visit museums, float in blimps, handle protein crystals, paint pictures, and hold human hands. The book describes eighteen systems, showing how they were designed, how they function online, and the engineering challenges they meet.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262072250 353 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 158 illus.


Ken Goldberg

Ken Goldberg is Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and founder of the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium at the University of California, Berkeley. His Net art installations include "Dislocation of Intimacy," "Memento Mori," and "The Telegarden."

Roland Siegwart

Roland Siegwart is Professor of Autonomous Systems and Director of the Center for Product Design at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zürich.


  • Remote presence will be one of the next big applications of the Internet. Goldberg and Siegwart are pioneers in the technology of letting us be where we are not. In the book, they document the birth of this new reality of which they were prime movers.

    Rodney Brooks

    Director, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, MIT

  • This is the first excellent book on internet-based controlled robotics, covering its uses in fields such as engineering, space exploration, education, and the arts. The readers will surely get a clear understanding of the features—manipulation, mobility, time delay control, and human interface—offered by online robotics.

    Toshio Fukuda

    Professor, Center for Cooperative Research in Advanced Science and Technology, Nagoya University, Japan

  • Robotics is expanding from laboratories and assembly lines into homes, onto highways, and, as this collection convincingly shows, onto the Internet. The editors present a compelling collection of work providing a range of demonstrated examples of Internet robots, a survey of the key scientific issues involved, and a look at the future of this promising field.

    Maja J Matarić

    Director, Robotics Research Labs, Computer Science Department and Neuroscience Program, University of Southern California