Internet ubiquity is easy, but being in two physical places at once is still problematic. We're getting closer, though: some of the innovation coming out of robotics will allow – at least virtual – bilocation. Rovio, a wi-fi enabled “home exploration and mobile webcam” lets you be two places at once. You can control it via PC, phone or game console from anywhere in the world, keeping an eye on your home and office and communicating with people in those places. You can set home points to create navigation routes for the Rovio so it can act like a watchdog in your absence, providing you with video and audio streams of its surroundings.

Self docking, Rovio can be sent to recharge with an internet command. If it gets knocked over it can right itself, and Rovio’s tri-wheel design allows omnidirectional movement.

The modding community has already built a fire-extinguishing Rovio, which can detect and put out small fires automatically.

In a world where the PS3 and non-Arcade 360s are still $299, Rovio is cheap for what is, with internet retail prices running from $199 to $350.

Personal robotics is still in its nascent phase, but Roxio is proof of its potential as tool. What’s going on in robotics doesn’t get a ton of ink, but there’s a lot of exciting things going on, things that will truly change how future generations will live.

Perhaps someday we'll have avatars in the meat world, making our physical geographies a baroque Second Life.

By Mark Alvarez