Wheelchair equipped with a remote-controlled roborally

Japanese engineers have created a prototype robotic wheelchairs for the disabled. The movement of the wheelchair man controls himself, moving the wheel with your hands, but on her back is a robot with two arms, which is controlled by a remote operator. He sees on the screen or VR-helmet not only video, but also imposed a spot showing where it looks sitting in a wheelchair. This allows you to better understand his needs and requests, and, for example, to take the manipulator the desired items. The development will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2020, but the article is about her not yet published.

In the field of robotic limbs is not only the development of prostheses that compensate for lost functions, but there is a relatively young direction in which researchers are trying to extend the original capabilities of Electromechanical devices that are not intended directly to replace their own limbs and person. A vivid example is the extra hands. There are several research groups actively working in this area and often create new prototypes, among them the distinguished group under the leadership of Amina Saraji (Yamen Saraiji), Keio University. In 2018 it is suggested the new approach, in which roborally controls remote operator receiving the video from the cameras of the robot. This allows the carrier robot to focus on their tasks.

In the new project engineers developed this idea and established raboroko not on the shoulders of the person and wheelchair. They used a modified wheelchair with the power and made far ago, a small wheel, which does not allow the stroller to fall back under the weight roborock. They are installed in the back of the stroller behind the seat. Manipulators consist of several long segments, analogous to a human hand on the end and positioned so that the brush of a human and a robot are on the same level.

In addition to the manipulators installed in the back of the head with two cameras and a microphone,
and electronics for the entire device, including the battery
and module wireless data transmission. The head, in contrast to the hands,
installed asymmetrically and shifted sideways, so she peeks out from behind the right shoulder of the person. The remote operator can see through
VR-helmet stereoscopic images from the cameras and hear the user.

Important difference between the new version and the old is that the operator was able to see what the user’s gaze. This person in a wheelchair must wear oculography sensor, like a pair of glasses without lenses. It has two infrared sensors that determine the position of the eyes and calculate the direction vector of the gaze. In addition, on top of the sensor has a camera that puts the center of gaze of the user on the image. Engineers have learned to combine these data with the data from the camera operator and impose the scope of the gaze of the user on the image that sees the operator. This allows the operator to not only hear the requests of the user, for example, to open the box, but to clarify them visually, knowing what kind of box it is.

In 2018, other scholars of Japan have conducted an important study on the interaction of people with extra limbs. They are using the neurointerface connected to volunteer an extra hand and experimentally proved, that the person is able to simultaneously perform actions with their hands and an extra hand, and it was the actions and movements of different types. This shows that in the future, the neural interfaces can afford to get rid of the need to control via remote operator.

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