Recently, space agencies are increasingly willing to send robots on board the ISS that will perform harder tasks autonomously or with the help of operators on Earth better than astronauts.
Such plans have already been successfully implemented by the Russian Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the American Space Agency. The Russians sent a humanoid house called FEDOR to the space home, the Americans robo-bees, and Europeans focused on the spherical astrobot called CIMON. Now the Japanese Space Agency wants to take advantage of such benefits.
As with the implementation of new great space missions to the Moon, Venus and Mars, as well as plans to start space mining, the presence of people in space will become something natural and universal. Therefore, the agencies are thinking about helping astronauts in the most difficult tasks with advanced robots.
The whole snag is that nowadays robots, even the most advanced ones, are still clumsy, they have difficulty performing the simplest activities and this will not change very quickly, engineers are thinking of developing robo-avatar projects that will perfectly imitate the movements of operators.
Recently, the X-Prize announced a futuristic competition for the first human robo-avatar. Teams of engineers who decide to take part in the competition and try to help implement this amazing vision, for the best concept can receive up to $10 million.
The foundation wants avatars to be remotely controlled, using VR technology, at a distance of at least 100 kilometers, and their operators could lift various objects, carry heavy loads, feel the temperature or see and hear everything that happens around the machine.
Currently, one of the pioneers in this topic is the Japanese company Meltin, which presented its avatar robot called MELTANT-α. They imitate the operator in a very precise way. The interaction of the engineer with the robot takes place in real time, with the help of controllers and VR goggles.
The human feels on his own body all the movements of the robot, as well as the generated loads. In the video you can see how extremely precise movements can be made with its help. All this is due to special polymer fibers that are designed to imitate human tendons.
Robot-avatar is already amazing in this form, and what will happen in a few years, when it is significantly improved. Watch the footage and imagine a future in which each of us will have their own digital avatar and with its help we will be able to explore space without any restrictions.