A major issue in the teleoperation of robots (e.g. UGVs) is the idea that teleoperation can be made easier by creating telepresence. Telepresence is not a thing that is limited to teleoperation, and the term appears to originate from work on teleconferencing. Below is an illustrative video about telepresence. Further down are a few more vids that provide an impression of the sort of camera images an operator has at his or her disposal for teleoperation of a robot.
POC: Kyle D. Fawcett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Telepresence technologies use interfaces and sensory input to mimic interaction with a remote environment to trick your brain into thinking you’re actually in the remote environment. Visual telepresence tricks your eyes into thinking they’ve been transported into a remote environment. This unlocks the brains natural spatial mapping abilities and thus enhances operation of closed cockpit armored vehicles and teleoperation of unmanned vehicles. The MITRE Immersive Vision system is a highly responsive head aimed vision system used for visual telepresence. Videos of MIVS experiments show the effectiveness of the system for robot teleoperation and virtually see-through cockpits in armored vehicles.
Lately, I have been studying the teleoperation of UGVs. Many people have tried various forms of gestural interaction to ‘teleoperate’ robots or robotic arms. Here is a nice, larger-than-life example where they control a robotic arm with a Wiimote.
15 tonnes of steel, 200 bar of hydraulic pressure and a control system written in Python. Oh, and a Wiimote.
To be quite honest, I do not think that using a Wiimote for teleoperation is a good idea at all. The only immediate advantage of using a Wiimote instead of using a more elaborate manual controller may well be a better ‘walk-up-and-use’ intuitiveness, although one still has to learn how the Wiimote ‘commands’ are mapped to the robotic arm’s motions, much as one needs to learn this with any other controller. A disadvantage may lie in the limited precision and the limited number of commands that the Wiimote offers. I think it all boils down to a basic ergonomical design of a manual controller for teleoperation. Operators must be able to (learn to) map the controllers options (degrees of freedom and commands) to the robot’s options (degrees of freedom and functions). This will likely involve a lot of prototyping and user testing to see what works best, but there is also quite a large literature on this topic (some of which originates from my current workplace at TNO, for example by Van Erp en by De Vries).
Wave in Head is a one-man synthpop project from Germany. Unlike many acts in this genre Wave in Head always had it’s own unique sound. You won’t hear an Access Virus preset bassline and a four to the floor beat for the hundredth time. If you’re into this kind of music and don’t own any Wave in Head CDs yet, hush hush 😉
Did you know?
The first known use of the term robot was by Czech playwright Karel Čapek, who in 1920 wrote a play
called R.U.R.: Rossums Universal Robots. Čapek used the Czech word robot, which means worker or laborer, to describe the mechanical slaves that were portrayed in his play. The first publicly-displayed robots were Elektro and his trusty mechanical dog, Sparko, who were highlighted at the 1939 Worlds Fair Exhibition in New York City. Elektro could dance, smoke and recite a handful of words, while Sparko would happily bark alongside him. Apparently, it is rumored that Sparky was a real babe magnet for Elektro. 😉
I’m sorry for the rather bad video quality, I was already glad I found those free japanese promo videos for creepy female robots. Despite the quality issues, and even though I did not have the patience nor the software for sample-synchron edits, the video works… YAY! 😉
Hmmm, this video made me think: To what extent can modern rock stars, like Madonna, Spears, or Jackson, be considered to be entertainment robots? Most videoclips are better synched but synched nevertheless, there is very little ‘real’ about the average music clip on MTV.
Milford School pupils were inspired by ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ to design costumes for Femisapiens and then program dance routines for them using Go-Robo. Facilities supplied by eLC South Nottingham.
Will this be the future of girlie robots? Femisapien is definitely a cute robot from Wowwee with its endearing kisses (here). And with a little software and some creativity you can use Femisapien as your Barbie dressup doll 🙂
Japanese performance artist Momoyo Torimitsu takes her robot for a crawl in downtown Sydney, Australia. Crowds watch the bizarre sight of the life-like Japanese businessman in suit and tie slowly crawling on all fours along the pavement. The robot is a symbol of the Japan’s rigid Salaryman culture.
The helpless nature of this robot reminds me of Hal object, except of course for the wonderful lifelike face and body movement of the robot. I think they did a good job of creating a crawling impression. And the grey bits of hair on the sweaty forehead are brilliant.
It would be a very good idea, for future projects in robot entertainment, to partner with a performance artist. Maybe Monica Antezana would still be interested.
Video taken of the Ballroom dancing robot at WIRED Nextfest
Although they obviously spent a lot of time and energy on creating this robot I can’t imagine that it will ever be a good dancer if it merely follows the motions, if it can only be led. There will inevitably be a short gap that will prevent real synchrony in movements, which is exactly what you want to achieve during dancing. But then again, most peple don’t get in full synchrony with each other either…