in Aerospace

World’s first touch-transmitting telerobotic hand debuts at re:MARS

Posted 3 June 2019 · Add Comment

The ‘Holy Grail of robotics’ will be demonstrated in public for the first time at the Amazon re:MARS event, when an international consortium of technology pioneers - including the UK's Shadow Robot Company - that is fully facilitated and funded by ANA Holdings, Inc., presents their teleoperation and telepresence system consisting of the first telerobot hand to successfully transmit touch.


Courtesy Shadow Robot Company

The innovative technology has been called the ‘Holy Grail of robotics’ for its potential to revolutionise the industry, making the upcoming public test a true milestone for ANA’s ventures in robotics.

By combining Shadow Robot’s world-leading dexterous robotic hand with SynTouch’s biomimetic tactile sensors and HaptX’s realistic haptic feedback gloves, the new technology enables unprecedented precision remote-control of a robotic hand. 

In recent tests, a human operator in California was able to operate a computer keyboard in London, with each keystroke detected through fingertip sensors on their glove and faithfully relayed 5000 miles to the Dexterous Hand to recreate. Combining touch with teleoperation in this way is ground-breaking and points to future applications where we might choose – or need – to perform delicate actions at a distance, e.g. bomb disposal, deep-sea engineering or even surgery performed across different states.

At the Amazon re:MARS Tech Showcase, the trailblazing team will demonstrate their teleoperation and telepresence technology outside the lab for the first time, to an audience made up of experts in machine learning, automation, robotics and space, as a well as the general public.

Kevin Kajitani, Co-Director of ANA Holdings’ Avatar Division said: “We are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with these advanced Avatar systems and through telerobotics in general. In addition to sponsoring the $10 million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, we’ve approached our three partner companies to seek solutions that will allow us to develop a high performance, intuitive, general-purpose Avatar hand. We believe that this technology will be key in helping humanity connect across vast distances.”

Jake Rubin, Founder and CEO of HaptX said: “Our sense of touch is a critical component of virtually every interaction. The collaboration between HaptX, Shadow Robot Company, SynTouch, and ANA brings a natural and realistic sense of touch to robotic manipulation for the first time, eliminating one of the last barriers to true telepresence.”

Dr Jeremy Fishel, Co-Founder of SynTouch said: “We’ve got something exciting up our sleeves for re:MARS this year. Users will see just how essential the sense of touch is when it comes to dexterity and manipulation and the various applications it can have within industry.”

Rich Walker, Managing Director of the Shadow Robot Company said: “Our remotely controlled system can help transform work within risky environments such as nuclear decommissioning and we’re already in talks with the UK nuclear establishment regarding the application of this advanced technology. It adds a layer of safety between the worker and the radiation zone as well as increasing precision and accuracy within glovebox-related tasks.”

Paul Cutsinger, Head of Voice Design Education at Amazon Alexa said: “Re:MARS embraces an optimistic vision for scientific discovery to advance a golden age of innovation and this teleoperation technology by the Shadow Robot Company, SynTouch and HaptX more than fits the bill. It must be seen.”



 
 

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