The robot that can feel the world around it


Source: BBC
Robot explorers that can feel their surroundings – and translate those physical feelings back to their controllers – could change the way we delve into the deep.

For decades, TV cameras mounted in exploration robots, especially in the ocean deep, have been mounted with cameras that can relay a view of their surroundings, and arms that have been able to grab and grip.

But so far, there’s been one big problem for the humans at the other end of the control wires – how can you make sure the robot exploring a sunken shipwreck, for instance, won’t crush the ancient treasures it might pick up?

The people controlling them from ships above the waves have had no sense of their surroundings, no tactile feedback that can tell them what their robotic helper is feeling.

It’s a problem that Oussama Khatib has been quietly grappling with for years.

In the video above, he explains how his efforts to make a robot that can translate the physicality of its surroundings have resulted in OceanOne, a robotic ‘avatar’ with lifelike arms and a ‘head’ that can move from side-to-side – giving a very human view of its surroundings. Andit is controlled by an easy-to-use system that gives physical feedback to the human controller, letting them feel what the machine is encountering.

Video Here

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