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Telepresence

Robotics

IBM developing robot assistance for technicians

If you've ever tried typing while talking to technical support with the phone crammed between ear and shoulder, then you know the meaning of frustration. Now imagine doing that upside down inside an airplane wing while juggling wires, crimps and a schematic printout. For some field engineers, that sort of thing is an everyday occurrence, so IBM in collaboration with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in the UK is developing a mobile maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) prototype robot. It's a combination of a smartphone app and a camera/projector mounted on a robot arm, that allows supervisors and experts to have a more active presence on the job.Read More

Robotics

OriHime is your eyes and ears back home

Ironically, humanoid robots may have to put aside their arms and legs if they're to gain a foothold in our daily lives. All those servos required to power multiple limbs can get expensive, they quickly drain the robot's batteries, and cause all sorts of problems if even one of them breaks. Eschewing this complexity leaves you with just a head and torso, a compromise adopted by several prospective household robots. Among those is a new communication robot by Waseda University's Ory Lab, launching later this year.Read More

Science

"Virtual body technology" lets users walk in someone else's shoes

Despite improvements in telepresence, most virtual “traveling” amounts to little more than staring at a screen and listening to headphones. In an effort to bring the other three sense to bear, the Ikei Laboratory at the Tokyo Metropolitan University Graduate School of System Design is developing what it calls “virtual body technology.” Unveiled at the Digital Contents Expo 2012 in Tokyo last October, the system claims to use all five senses to provide an immersive virtual experience akin to inhabiting another person’s body.Read More

Robotics

KUBI – the inexpensive telepresence "robot" for tablets

The burgeoning telepresence market continues to gather steam with Revolve Robotics the latest venture to introduce a low-cost telepresence system through crowd-funding. But unlike the others, KUBI (Japanese for "neck") is mainly stationary. It's essentially a tablet stand that can hold a tablet in portrait or landscape mode and allows the caller to remotely pan and tilt the tablet to change their point of view.Read More

Science

ISS astronauts control robot on Earth via "interplanetary internet"

The internet has changed a great deal of modern society, and now it promises to change space exploration as well. In late October, International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams used a NASA-developed laptop aboard the station to control a LEGO Mindstorm robot, located at the European Space Agency (ESA) European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Using a “space internet,” she was able to control the robot in real time despite being in orbit at an altitude of 230 miles (370 km). Read More

VR

"Beaming" technology allows for remote human/rat communications

Earlier this week, we reported on the “beaming” telepresence system being developed by the EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). Once developed, the system should allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats.Read More

Telecommunications

CORDIS plans to "beam" people to meetings

In recent years, telepresence systems have become more common. Unfortunately, most of them are little more than a videophone on top of a motorized stick. The EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) wants to change that, by developing a system called “beaming.” When fully developed, it should reportedly provide telepresence so real that for the operator and the people at the other end, it will be like the person is actually there. Read More

Robotics

Bossa Nova Robotics unveils mObi personal ballbot

Bossa Nova Robotics, a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, has announced a new research platform called mObi. The mObi platform is based on a design by Professor Ralph Hollis, who developed a robot that balanced and moved on a ball instead of wheels, called the Ballbot. Thanks to its unique form of locomotion, mObi moves gracefully in any direction and could be put to work as a telepresence robot in the future.Read More

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