MIT Remotely Operates Robots with Oculus Rift VR

first_imgStay on target Not everyone is as lucky as me: Some jobs require workers to wear a uniform and leave their house every day.But what if manufacturing tasks, like maneuvering machinery, could be completed remotely?Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a virtual-reality system that lets folks tele-operate a robot using an Oculus Rift headset.Simply strap on the VR device and be transported from your living room to a control room.The newfangled system, according to MIT, falls somewhere between the two traditional approaches to using VR for tele-operation:A “direct” design limits the user’s viewpoint to only that of the robot, and a delayed signal may cause nausea and headaches.A “cyber-physical” configuration separates the robot from the user (who interacts with a virtual copy of the droid), but requires more data and specialized spaces.CSAIL, however, claims to have solved these problems.By mimicking the “homunculus model of the mind”—basically the premise of Pixar’s Inside Out—researchers can place a human “inside” a robot, where they can see through its eyes and control its actions.A pair of Oculus Touch controllers make it easy to manipulate the machine’s hand grippers to pick up, move, and retrieve items.Watch the video below to see a tele-operated robot complete tasks like stacking blocks, picking up screws, and stapling a wire.“A system like this could eventually help humans supervise robots from a distance,” CSAIL postdoctoral associate Jeffrey Lipton, lead author on a paper about the system, said in a statement. “By tele-operating robots from home, blue-collar workers would be able to telecommute and benefit from the IT revolution just as white-collar workers do now.”As you can see, the process appears quite slow (though users with gaming experience reportedly had less trouble navigating the system). Still, when tested against other systems, CSAIL’s technology managed to move 57 percent faster. And it can do so from hundreds of miles away.Currently limited to the MIT lab, this system will eventually become more scalable, with many users, different types of robots, and increased compatibility.While the team used Rethink Robotics’ humanoid Baxter and an Oculus Rift, the platform will work with other bots, and is compatible with the HTC Vive VR headset.Lipton co-wrote the paper with CSAIL director Daniela Rus and researcher Aidan Fay; they presented their findings at this week’s IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Vancouver.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower last_img read more