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Remotely grooming a cat using a Kinect, Wiimote, treadmill and Nao robot

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January 3, 2012

The teleoperation system created by Taylor Veltrop lets him remotely groom his cat

The teleoperation system created by Taylor Veltrop lets him remotely groom his cat

The Kinectimals video game lets players pet a virtual pet on their TV screen, but Tokyo-based software engineer Taylor Veltrop has gone one step further. By pairing a Kinect sensor, a Wiimote, a treadmill and a Nao humanoid robot together, Veltrop has cobbled together a tele-operation system that allows him to groom his real life feline friend remotely.

The system sees Veltrop controlling the Nao robot's navigation and bending and turning via the Kinect sensor and a treadmill and its arm's using the Kinect and two Wiimotes. Meanwhile, a head-mounted display (HMD) provides Veltrop with the view from Nao's eyes and a second camera mounted on top of its head. The robot is controlled over Wi-Fi and is dexterous enough to allow Veltrop to brush a cat, which is conveniently held in place by a helpful assistant.

The system is the result of a year's work for Veltrop, who also picked up third place last year for tele-operation of a humanoid robot in a competition by Willow Garage, the company behind the PR2 robot. Veltrop now plans to hearing and speaking capabilities to the system.

As can be seen in the video, Veltrop's tele-operated Nao isn't not exactly the fastest way to groom a pet, but it does beg the question, if this is what is achievable by a hobbyist using widely available consumer electronic devices, just how long is if before we see remotely tele-operated robots facing off in the battlefield while their human controllers are safely located at a remote location?

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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6 Comments

I'm not interested in battlefield applications.

Taylor Veltrop
4th January, 2012 @ 03:24 am PST

Nice to play with these toys but I'm wondering who catches the cat and holds it while it's being groomed? Why can't they groom it themselves? (allergic maybe!)

And we've had a cat for many years and never had to groom it - they take care of that themselves. Dogs maybe need looking after on the other hand...

agulesin
4th January, 2012 @ 05:02 am PST

You're missing the point if you're honestly concerned with logistics of grooming the cat. They obviously could have chosen any mundane task. This is important because it illustrates the potential of this type of technology, especially considered all this is achieved using household electronics.

Apollo
4th January, 2012 @ 06:51 am PST

that android runs around 20k at most places.

Al Al
4th January, 2012 @ 06:41 pm PST

What everyone is missing is that apparently cats have taken over the world and having us build 20K robo-grooming stations for them.

alcalde
5th January, 2012 @ 11:41 am PST

I think you are all missing the pornt... I mean, point. Some people would pay quite a lot (by the minute) to remotely stroke a pussy-cat in this manner. :-)

Hoodoo
5th January, 2012 @ 04:33 pm PST
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