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Ava Robot Brings Speakers to UN-Habitat Roundtable

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

UN-Habitat recently requested an Ava Telepresence Robot to use at their roundtable discussion on floating cities. The roundtable took place in New York and was co-convened with Oceanix, the MIT Center for Ocean Engineering, and the Explorers Club as they looked towards floating cities as a potential solution for climate change and affordable housing.

Floating cities are an innovative design that places cities on the water. Oceanix believes floating cities, like the one they unveiled at the roundtable, could be an alternative for those seeking a place to live away from rising sea levels and other natural disasters. It is also planned to be a self-sufficient system for those living in it.

Olafur Eliason at UN-Habitat Roundatble on Floating Cities

One participant of the discussion was Olafur Eliasson, a well-known artist whose work involves public installations that engages with climate change and policy, who teleported to the UN headquarters using the Ava Telepresence Robot. Olafur is working with Oceanix on the Floating cities project. For the one-day conference, Olafur wanted to reduce his carbon footprint and chose not to fly in to New York. Through Ava Telepresence, he was able to teleport to the UN headquarters and participate in the discussion. Olafur had an immersive experience and was able to alternate between sitting and standing position with Ava, allowing him to easily converse with the rest of the roundtable and express himself through body language.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and the UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif talk to youth in Nairobi via Ava Telepresence outside the Roundtable on Floating Cities in New York

Additionally, the roundtable was also able to hear from several youth from Nairobi, Kenya, who also teleported to the UN headquarters via Ava. This allowed the roundtable to hear from a diverse set of voices, all while reducing the cost of travel. Like Olafur, the Nairobi speakers could fully be a part of the discussion. They were able to move outside the room where the roundtable occurred and converse with the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and the UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif from there.

Find out more about the roundtable on the UN-Habitat’s website.

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