Robot will copy arm and hand movements as commands and feedback are sent over the regular cell-phone network.
André Schiele, leading ESA’s telerobotics lab, will attempt a very special demonstration of remote robotic operations at the TEDx RocketMinds event today in Darmstadt, Germany.
Donning an exoskeleton that weighs just 10 kg, he will control a robot at ESA’s technical heart in Noordwijk, the Netherlands – over 400 km (248 miles) away.
The robot will copy André’s arm and hand movements as commands and feedback are sent over the regular cell-phone network.
Tune in and watch the short presentations live – each is no longer than 18 minutes.
“Doing this live is nerve-racking,” says André, “but this is a game-changer. The technology we developed for space has enormous potential for assisting in emergency situations where humans cannot go – like the Fukushima nuclear meltdown or the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.”
Sending robots into disaster areas has long been a goal of emergency workers, but electricity and communications networks are often the first to be hit.
As the exoskeleton is battery-powered and sends commands through a cellular network, it can be deployed quickly in an emergency even if the infrastructure in the disaster zone has been damaged. As long as the robot can receive a cell-phone signal, it will work.