Telexistence

A new robot from Japan is a metal ‘avatar’ that is controlled via a virtual reality suit – letting users remote-control the robot and see through its eyes.

The Telesar V mimics the movements of its pilot – and is so realistic it can even pick up objects. Scientists hope similar robots could venture into dangerous areas such as contaminated reactors.

The controller dons a 3D head display that covers his whole vision and can ‘see’ through a robot’s eyes. Wheenever he moves sensors replicate that movement on the robot.

 

 

 

The body can also move in seven different directions and it has video cameras in its head that are linked up to the 3D head display so the user can ‘see’ what it is looking at.

Sensory data is sent back via gloves fitted with semiconductors and motors which mimic touch, pressure, texture, heat and cold.

Mashahiro Furukawa of the Telesar team said the aim was to ‘make it really feel as if you are in another place’.

He said: ‘What you can do with this telexistence robot is you can see things you normally see, even in a remote location.

‘If you are a physician, for example, to examine a patient you need to extend your hands.

‘With this system you have hands that you can move just like your own.

‘You can also hear what’s going on around you. Those are the first things that we achieved with this system.

‘Now we have added sensors that communicate what the robot’s fingers are touching and a system to feed the touch sensation back to the operator.

‘The technology makes it possible to operate the robot as your avatar and feel what you are touching, even if you are a long distance away.’

Pofessor Susumu Tachi of Keio university’s graduate school of media and design added that the research could allow humans to go into areas that are too dangerous for them but ‘require human skills’.

 

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