A robot photographer is coming to Edmonton

Is a picture of yourself still a selfie if it wasn’t taken by you – or any other human, for that matter?

Regardless, a six-foot-tall machine that’s decked out with an on-board printer, ring light, and the ability to talk to party guests calls itself just that: Selfiebot.

“You may just be standing there, having a laugh, and all of a sudden this six-foot-tall robot’s asking you take your picture,” laughed Edmontonian Ward Tricker.

After going six months without work as an elevator constructor, he and wife Jessica Tricker decided to expand her newborn and maternity photography business with Beep Photo, offering Selfiebot services come spring.

“It seemed like a really amazing, different take on event photography (that’s) a little more interactive and a lot more fun.”

The technology, developed in Australia, isn’t fully autonomous.

“The robot is operated by the robot handlers, as we call ourselves,” Tricker told CTV News Edmonton.

As it roams –controlled by Tricker – around an event, attendees can choose to take a photo and have it freely sent to them via SMS or email, or to have it printed off.

“That’s probably the best part. There’s no waiting, having to check into an app online. You just input your information and it’ll send it directly to you.”

Tricker called it a reinvention of the classic photo booth.

“I think every time they have one, I end up getting pictures there,” he said.

But: “You don’t hear people say, ‘I was at an event and I got to wear a funky hat and things like that.’ But a six-foot-tall robot that interacts with you and takes your photo is pretty exciting.”

Rico – Robotic Interactive Camera Operator, they’ve called it – is still being built. The Trickers hope to debut it by April.

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