In-person – Remotely

I know, you are thinking, how can I be someplace in=person, remotely. I will admit to the physical impossibility at this time, but what if you had the ability to perform complex manual tasks using your hands, from a remote location? What if you could feel the objects you are manipulating and even tell how much pressure you are applying, the same as if you were there, in-person? If tactile/haptic feedback using remote robotic devices enabled you to do exactly what I described, how would that change the way you work?

I was first made aware of the theoretical model in the 1980s and feel that the applications for this technology in healthcare, the nuclear industry, and other business sectors can provide significant benefit. The question for me was never if it could be done, but when. The reason for when technically, was not a matter of getting humans to manipulate robotics, but one of bandwidth required to effectively manipulate those robotics from aa remote location.

This morning I was reading about a company doing exactly this, it is the Shadow Robot Company. The basic concept is the use of a robotic system placed in the target location, and the operator placed in a remote location where digital gloves are worn and used to manipulate the robot hands. In the nuclear and biochemical sectors, this approach allows hazardous materials to be handled safely, without exposing the technician.

In My View

The use of tele-robotics opens up a plethora of opportunities for businesses dealing in hazardous materials, greater access to specialized skills like those found in healthcare, and areas where humans might be placed at risk. The next step might be one of increased mobility where the capabilities offered by Shadow Robotics Company might be combined with the mobility capabilities of the robots created by Boston Dynamics, allowing remote manipulation to be brought to a location without direct human intervention.

Imagine being able to address dealing with a hazardous environment by sending in a tactile/haptic feedback enabled robot rather than a human. The possibilities become limited only by a myopic view of what the future could hold.

Leave a Reply