Teleoperate Humanoid Robots

The tremendous advance in robotic and network technologies have provided with the infrastructure to transmit not only text, images and sounds but also physical actions. As telephone facilitates human as a tool for extending human voice, humanoid robots with network technologies could be powerful tools for extending human existence. Humanoid robots are potential tools to function in the real world, which is designed for human. They can be proxies for human to do dirty or dangerous work that would not be done by human if there is a choice, hence providing human with more safety, time and freedom.

Projects utilizing teleoperated humanoid robots have begun in search for systems which can do the same work presently done by human in critical environments, for instance executing space mission. There have been reports on humanoid robot teleoperation systems equipped with full master slave manipulation interface and high autonomy of system utilizing teleoperation interface.

During phase of the HRP (Humanoid Robotics Project) a full master slave teleoperation platform was developed to control a humanoid robot. This system enables the operator to control the slave humanoid robot as if the operator has become one to the robot with its exoskeleton master device and immersive displays. Although such full master slave teleoperation systems allow flexible manipulation of the humanoid robot, they require complex and large interface. It would not be very comfortable to operate in an exoskeleton device fixed to the body all the time to accomplish all tasks.

There are also projects utilizing GUI (Graphical User Interface) to teleoperate humanoid robots with higher autonomy. Although this kind of highly autonomous, supervisory control-like teleoperation systems require only simple input devices, they are normally less flexible and can perform pre-defined motions only.

Considering utilizing teleoperated humanoid robots to perform tasks in critical environments and during emergencies, a teleoperation system will have the great effectiveness.

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