8 August 2015 – MIT, USA – In general, we deploy humans to solve the problems in disaster situation but if the situation is too dangerous to deploy human (like Fukushima nuclear disaster) we try to deploy something that could do work as human would able to do. The world is made by humans and designed for bipedal bodies that’s why we are looking towards humanoid robot to do the tasks like human. HERMES, a humanoid robot is developed for deployment in such disaster situations. For humanoid robot keeping balance is very critical due to the opposite reaction forces during carry out any task.
MIT researchers of Mechanical Engineering Department decided to tackle this problem and deigned a humanoid robot, HERMES that takes advantage of a human’s split-second reflexes to maintain its balance and complete tasks.
HERMES steered by a human pilot strapped into a remote-control exoskeleton, with built in reflexes. The suite allows robot to mimic the human movements exactly. Researchers are feeding the balance sensations of the robot back to the human as forces on his waist. This way, refreshers are taking advantage of the natural reflexes and the learning capability of the human to keep the robot balance.
The human also have handle controllers with which he can push a couple of buttons and these buttons are responsible for controlling the hand of the robot. Robot has a camera in head that gives the video feedback to the operator in vision goggles. When the human wants to do more delicate tasks that really require vision and strict positioning he can wear goggles and do more precise manipulation with his hand.
See HERMES in action: (click on image to see video)
(Video: Melanie Gonick/MIT)
Currently the whole actions taken by the robot are commanded by the human but this is not the full solution of the problem. So researchers want to implement some intelligence in the HERMES robot. The human still can provide the creativity, problem solving and large scale co-ordination of all the joints along with some level of autonomous control.