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Robot In Germany Controlled From Russia with Unique Interface

Photo: Jan Albiez DFKI GmbH
Photo: Jan Albiez DFKI GmbH

DFKI, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, recently posted a video documenting the successful remote operation of a robot through an exoskeleton interface at a distance of nearly 4,000 kilometers. In this trial, an operator in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk used the DFKI-designed CAPIO exoskeleton to operate another DFKI technology, the AILA robot in a lab in the German city of Bremen.

The CAPIO system is a dual arm upper body exoskeleton intended to remotely control a robotic system safely and intuitively with natural human movements. The exoskeleton follows the arm and torso movements of the operator through eight points of contact. CAPIO transmits the movements of the operator to the target system, in this case AILA, and provides haptic feedback to the operator. Eight active degrees of freedom in each of the arms and four in the back provide the basis for very flexible and fluid upper body movement in the corresponding robot.

Photo: DFKI GmbH

AILA is a humanoid robot that was first introduced by DFKI in 2010. The two-armed, five fingered robot is very flexible with 32 degrees of freedom. The robot moves around on a six-wheeled base with two degrees of freedom at each wheel.  Additionally, AILA’s arms each offer 7-DOF, the torso has 4-DOF, and the head 2-DOF.

According to DFKI,  “Mobility, perception, manipulation and, primarily, the use of all these subareas within a single system that is able to perceive and understand its environment, move around, manipulate, learn about objects and deal with unstructured and uncertain environments is the goal of this research area.”

The robot’s flexibility makes it a perfect companion for testing the CAPIO exoskeleton control system. In the recent trial, the goal was to demonstrate the ability for the robot to accurately replicate the motions of the human operator over a long distance. Ultimately, this ability would be useful in enabling a human operator based on earth a robot located on the International Space Station.

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