Scientists can transport you to your loved ones anywhere on the planet ‘in the body a robot’, despite the danger of increased travel restrictions. 

Cyberselves is a University of Sheffield spinout that has developed an app which gives you the point of view of a robot using a VR headset with handheld motion controllers. 

The “telepresence” technology allows users to view what robots see, hear and feel what robots hear, as well, to move about in their bodies via the internet.

According to experts, it can be used to hug and comfort relatives or to provide medical care and assessment of hazardous areas. 

It is among only two British finalists for the ANA Avatar XPRIZE global robots competition. 

The winning company, to be decided next year, will receive the lion’s share of a $8 million (£6 million) prize pot to further develop their technology. 

Users see what the robot sees and control the robot with their own body movements. The system works with 'any robot located anywhere in the world'

It allows users to see the robot’s vision and then control it with their body movements. The system works with ‘any robot located anywhere in the world’


  1. Human uses Cyberselves’ Teleport app on their VR headset (with handheld motion controllers) or phone
  2. Robot responds to user’s movement of controllers and motion sensors in real-time via the cloud
  3. The robot can be viewed, heard and felt by the user even though it is on another continent  

Teleport is a Cyberselves app. This can be used on any VR headset commercially or via a browser. Compatible with multiple robots 

In video demonstrations, Cyberselves uses Pepper, a robot from Japanese tech company SoftBank, and TIAGo, from Spanish manufacturer PAL Robotics, for example. 

‘Our Teleport app makes the remote operation of robots both powerfully effective and functionally simple,’ said Daniel Camilleri, co-founder of Cyberselves. 

“With the use of a browser, smart phone or VR headset the user is able to remotely control robots in an intuitive way.    

Camilleri, 28, used the technology to attend his grandmother’s birthday party in Malta more than 1,000 miles away. 

According to him, ‘I was in Lisbon at a conference but I had my headset so I could take the headset to Malta and wish happy birthday to my grandma. Give her a hug and go to the festivities’.  

University of Sheffield spinout Cyberselves developed the tech to enable people to transport themselves into the body of a robot located anywhere in the world

Cyberselves University of Sheffield spunout developed the technology to allow people to move into the bodies of robots located around the globe.


Canadian startup, Startup Covid-19 has simplified the procedure of getting the vaccine. The robot injects the shot directly into the muscles without using needles.

The Cobi robot was developed at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. It is said to have performed the first robotic intramuscular injection. 

Cobi uses a high pressure jet of serum to penetrate skin. It passes through an area the same width as a human hair.

Cobi uses LiDAR sensors to make a model and then applies AI-based software for the best site to inject. 

Continue reading: A robot can give a needle-free shot of vaccination  

Cyberselves claims that long distance communication between robots and humans is possible via the cloud. 

You can use your smartphone to experience VR, however the former provides an immersive experience. 

‘The ability to use telepresence through an internet browser will make the technology even more accessible and open up more possibilities for it to be used,’ said Dr Michael Szollosy, chief operating officer at Cyberselves.

Cyberselves researchers also invented Animus, a universal language to robots’. This allows Teleport apps to be licensed and used ‘with any robot around the world.   

As well as being able to hug relatives, it allows human operators to safely carry out tasks in hazardous environments remotely.  

These applications include nuclear decommissioning, bomb disposal and offshore wind production.

Another option is more efficient and personalised healthcare, allowing specialists to visit patients in different countries.  

‘The doctor could be hundreds of miles away, it could be some specialist that would like to see a patient and they might be in New York,’ Tony Prescott, professor of Cognitive Robotics and director of research at Cyberselves, previously told the BBC.

They just have to don a VR headset so they could be looking at this patient in Sheffield.  

Cyberselves, which was created in 2018, was spun out of the UK in March 2020. It was just a week before Covid imposed a lockdown on the UK.

The Sheffield spin-out is one of only two British finalists in the ANA Avatar XPRIZE global robotics competition

The Sheffield spinout is among only two British finalists at the ANA Avatar XPRIZE global competition in robotics

A Cyberselves researcher demonstrates the technology in the vicinity of the robot, although thanks to the cloud, the robot mimics the human's actions when there's thousands of miles between them

A Cyberselves researcher demonstrates the technology in the vicinity of the robot, although thanks to the cloud, the robot mimics the human’s actions when there’s thousands of miles between them 

The pandemic was a great opportunity for the company, as it allowed them to demonstrate the value of their technology when international travel was restricted.

‘Telepresence robots have the potential to help us to meet many of the challenges we face across the world, particularly in the light of the recent Covid pandemic,’ said Dr Szollosy. 

“With the availability of international travel being severely restricted or impossible for most people, telepresence robotics may be used to allow individuals to virtually travel to different places and exchange information with one another. 

“This could be interpreted as a possibility that some parts of the tourism sector could survive despite any restrictions in future pandemics.”  


Researchers have altered Pepper to think loudly, which scientists claim can improve transparency and trust between humans and machines. 

A team from Italy created an “inner speech model” that allows the robot to communicate its thoughts and feelings, much like humans.    

The experts found Pepper was better at overcoming confusing human instructions when it could relay its own inner dialogue out loud. 

Pepper – which has already been used as a receptionist and a coffee shop attendee – is the creation of Japanese tech company SoftBank.  

Pepper was tested at care homes in Japan and the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. This was part of an investigation into loneliness. 

Read more: Scientists make Pepper the robot ‘think out loud’