A Japanese-developed robot that mimics the movements of its human controller is bringing the Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar” one step closer to reality. Users of the TELESAR V don special equipment that allows them not only to direct the actions of a remote machine, but also to see, hear and feel the same things as their doppelganger android.
“When I put on the devices and move my body, I see my hands having turned into the robot hands. When I move my head, I get a different view from the one I had before,” said researcher Sho Kamuro. “It’s a strange experience that makes you wonder if you’ve really become a robot,” he told AFP.
Professor Susumu Tachi, who specialises in engineering and virtual reality at Keio University’s Graduate School of Media Design, said systems attached to the operator’s headgear, vest and gloves send detailed instructions to the robot, which then mimics the user’s every move. At the same time, an array of sensors on the android relays a stream of information which is converted into sensations for the user.