The buzz around augmented and virtual reality has been increasing since some year and, even though technology seems to be mature, as in the case of Microsoft’s Hololens, It still lack a concrete and affordable solution that can be implemented in manufacturing sites. Univerities such as Boston’s MIT are currently working on robots and VR will change the way in we work.
MIT’s Engineers have developed and tested a new technology that allows to combine remote controlled robot with the Oculus Rift headset allowing the operator to work as if he was a pilot sitting in the robot’s cockpit. In order to be able to effectively piloting the robot, Oculus Rift Touch Controllers must be combined with the original Oculus Rift visor. This Controllers are used to move the robot and use the extansible arms that allo to perform the majority of the tasks.
First tests have showed how it will be possible to perform complex operations such as picking up, from a flat surface, a certain number of metal screws, or piling ub wooden bricks. The results of the tests performed were encouraging considering that the operator was able to perform tha abobe mentioned tasks in a more effective and reliable way compare to basically all its predecessors. Now that a proof of concept has been successfully closed, engineers are focusing towards extending the numbers of tasks that it will be possible to performd through the tool as well as on extending the set of robots that are currently compativle with the system.
This kind of technology seems to have a wealth of applications in industrial manufacturing since it will not only allow th operators to work remotely, but it might provide the means of interviening remoterly, in a very effective wa,y in situations that might be dangerous and life threatening situations or in environments with inospital conditions.