09 August 2018

Guy with Four Arms, Two Controled in VR

Researchers at Tokyo-based Keio University’s Graduate School of Media Design, led the development of a robotic-arms-on-a-backpack project, called Fusion, to explore how people may be able to work together to control one person’s body. The operator of the robotic arms and hands can pick things up or move around the arms and hands of the human wearing the backpack. The mechanical hands can be removed and replaced with straps that go around the backpack-wearer’s wrists if you want to truly remote control their arms. The backpack includes a PC that streams data wirelessly between the robotic arm-wearer and the person controlling the limbs in VR.

The PC also connects to a microcontroller, letting it know how to position the robotic arms and hands and how much torque to apply to the joints. The robotic arms, each with seven joints, jut out of the backpack, along with a connected head, of sorts. The head has two cameras that show the remote operator, in VR, a live feed of everything the backpack-wearer is seeing. When the operator moves their head in VR, sensors track that motion and cause the robotic head to move in response. The wearable system is powered by a battery that lasts about an hour and a half. It’s heavy, weighing in at nearly 21 pounds.

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