The astronaut guided the robot on earth using Haptic Feedback technology which recreates the sense of touch.
A Danish astronaut performed a remarkable and revolutionary experiment. The astronaut remotely controlled a robot on earth while staying at the International Space Station.
While zooming around some 450 miles above the earth, the astronaut named Andreas Mogensen guided Interact Centaur Rover using force feedback technology. The rover has a pair of highly advanced arms and a camera system on its head which enables the controller to directly see the task being performed.
The main thing about the experiment was the use of Haptic or force-feedback technology, which recreates the sense of touch despite the distance.
Under Mogensen's control, the robot very slowly dropped a metal pin into a very tight hole in a board with less than sixth of a millimeter of room. It was high precision task, but Mogensen successfully completed it.
“We’re very happy with today’s result,” said Andre Schiele from European Space Agency Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory. “(Andreas) has never operated the rover before but its controls turned out to be very intuitive. Andreas took 45 minutes to reach the task board and then insert the pin on his first attempt, and less than 10 minutes in his follow-up attempt, showing a very steep learning curve.”
The blue and white robot was designed and built by ESA lab team in collaboration with graduate students from Delft University of Technology. The robot was made with fiberglass and was created in less than 224,000 dollars. Its success means that in future robots can project human-like presence and will perform delicate tasks on the surface of planets.
“The real challenge was achieving meaningful force feedback despite the distance the signals had to travel. It added up to a round trip of more than 144 000 km.” ESA stated.
Remote control rovers are very useful. They can help explore remote planets and gather information especially when environment is dangerous and inaccessible.
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Source: Europeon Space Agency