In 2009, Avatar became the highest grossing movie ever. The epic science fiction adventure became an instant success, and Avatar merchandise could be seen in pretty much every corner of the world. It was huge! Some say it was the romantic touch that made it such a huge success, while others say it was the technological achievements that were the cause of its unprecedented popularity. Ever since then, virtual robotics have mesmerized innovators all around the world.
How cool would it be to slip into a robotic avatar that enables you to go where you normally couldn’t? I mean, virtual robotics could change everything. We could possibly get our very own clone which would enable us to be at two different locations at once. Would it be a good thing? I guess that is something for the future to decide. No matter how we look at it, virtual robotics are currently undergoing an increased popularity among innovators and robotic engineers around the world. It’s something that could bring us personal avatars a whole lot sooner than 2149.
A research group lead by Professor Tachi at Keio University in Japan is currently working on one of the first incarnations of an avatar that incorporates some pretty cool virtual robotics technology. By slipping on a pair of virtual reality gloves and a helmet, you would be able to control and see the world through your avatar’s eyes. The concept behind this virtual robotics technology is really called Telexistence, and it allows us to control a real avatar robot.
The robot itself isn’t fully operational. So far, just the upper body of the robot is, and it behaves like you and me. The robot has the same angle and reach limitations as our own bodies. It’s something that further enhances the realism of actually feeling like you are in another entity.
The precision of this virtual robotics technology is quite remarkable as well. The robot registers temperatures with its sensors and can even simulate touch which is recognized down to the surface of a LEGO block. This technology is primarily meant to help humans enter hazardous areas like the Fukushima reactors which would spell certain death for you and me. It’s uncertain when we’ll see fully functional virtual robotics avatars in our own reality which we can use. The technology is progressively being researched and developed, so I wouldn’t think it would be too long before fully functional avatar robots become reality.
Professor Tachi’s Virtual Robotics Avatar Technology
Image Credit: [Diginfo]