Disaster Risk Management & Telepresence Robots


This week in class we discussed Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Management (DRM). The Sendai Framework was created as a means of setting standards for what an effective disaster relief plan would look like. The Sendai framework includes plans that take into consideration the needs of many groups and the rebuilding that often needs to happen over the course of 15 years. There are seven targets and four priorities that encourage action to managing a disaster. One of the points sums up the call for inclusivity really well, it states: “Disaster risk reduction requires an all-of-society engagement and partnership. It also requires empowerment and inclusive, accessible and non discriminatory participation, paying special attention to people disproportionately affected by disasters…”A similar framework we went over was the Dhaka declaration that pertains specifically to persons with disabilities and calls for inclusive planning and action. Additionally we went over the conferences where these frameworks were held and how they were made to be inclusive on all persons.

In order to make a conference inclusive it needs to be accessible to people everywhere regardless of their physical capabilities. One of the ways that was done at the GP 2017 conferences was by using Telepresence Robots. These robots are essentially motorized scooters with an i-Pad attached at face level. The controller of the robot can navigate any space online and explore different elements of a conference. However, the technology surrounding the Telepresence Robots do present some challenge as well. They are often distracting and the user cannot pick up on social cues or body language as well as individuals who are present in person can. This can be a problem when the person controlling the Telepresence Robot is going their time allotted to speak or perhaps even blocking another attendee with their machine.

Although it may not be exactly the same as being at a conference in person in provides a new way for persons who cannot attend a conference of who many not have the physical capability to attend a conference to finally do so. Additionally, these Telepresence Robots allow for individuals to interact with other people attending a conference and communicate with guest speakers. At the GP2017 conference the Telepresence Robots actually had the opportunity to interact with a high-ranking UN official.  It is inspiring to see technology and innovation moving in ways that make the world a better place by allowing more people to be involved.