Telerobotics is the area of robotics concerned with the control of robots from a distance, chiefly using wireless connections (like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, the Deep Space Network, and similar), "tethered" connections, or the Internet. It is a combination of two major subfields, teleoperation and telepresence.
Teleoperation means "doing work at a distance", although "work" may mean almost anything. The term "distance" is also vague: it can refer to a physical distance, where the operator is separated from the robot by a large distance, but it can also refer to a change in scale, where for example in robotic surgery a surgeon may use micro-manipulator technology to conduct surgery on a microscopic level.
Telepresence means "feeling like you are somewhere else". Some people have a very technical interpretation of this, where they insist that you must have head-mounted displays in order to have telepresence. For other people "presence" requires feeling that you are emotionally and socially connected with the remote world. It's all a little vague at this time.
A telerobotic interface can be as simple as a common MMK (monitor-mouse-keyboard) interface. While this is not immersive, it is inexpensive. Telerobotics driven by internet connections are often of this type. A valuable modification to MMK is a joystick, which provides a more intuitive navigation scheme for planar robot movement.
Dedicated telepresence setups utilize a head mounted display with either single or dual eye display, and an ergonomically matched interface with joystick and related button, slider, trigger controls.
Future interfaces will merge fully immersive virtual reality interfaces and port real-time video instead of computer-generated images. Another example would be to use an omnidirectional treadmill with an immersive display system so that the robot is driven by the person walking or running. Additional modifications may include merged data displays such as Infrared thermal imaging, real-time threat assessment, or device schematics.
With the exception of the Apollo program most space exploration has been conducted with telerobotic space probes. Most space-based astronomy has been conducted with telerobotic telescopes. Recent noteworthy examples include the Mars exploration rovers (MER) and the Hubble Space Telescope. In the case of the MER mission, the spacecraft and the rover were each telerobotically operated. The International Space Station (ISS) uses a two armed telemanipulator called Dextre.
Marine remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are widely used to work in water too deep or too dangerous for divers. They repair offshore oil platforms and attach cables to sunken ships to hoist them. They are usually attached by a tether to a control center on a surface ship. The wreck of the Titanic was explored by an ROV, as well as by a crew-operated vessel.
Additionally, a lot of telerobotic research is being done in the field of medical devices, and minimally invasive surgical systems. With a robotic surgery system, a surgeon can work inside the body through tiny holes just big enough for the manipulator, with no need to open up the chest cavity to allow hands inside.
Remote manipulators are used to handle radioactive materials.
Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
For More Information: Telepresence & Telerobotics