Science

NASA Teams Up With PlayStation VR To Control Space Bots

By Paul Pajarillo , Dec 19, 2015 11:28 AM EST
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Sony and NASA have been working together to control humanoid robots in space. Using the PlayStation VR headset and a Move controller, the partnership has developed a significant tool for science and learning.

Augmented reality deceives the human imagination. With a virtual headset wrapped around a user's head, they can visit restricted areas and even experience being devoured by dinosaurs. But outside news and entertainment territories, VR headsets are proven as an immersive visual tool for science and at the same time a medium for learning.

According to roadtovr.com, Sony and NASA have been working on a project known as Mighty Morphenaut. This is a PSVR demo that enables an operator to practice space robot control. The augmented experience creates the humanoid's environment, basically a simulation inside a space shuttle, and the operator needs to get the robot to complete a set of tasks while moving around hindrances.

The space administration's long-time struggles to create a flexible robot for explorations in space led to the Robonauts project. These robots are dexterous humanoids designed to assist astronauts and even replace them in space explorations.

According to the Robonauts website, the advantage of a humanoid design is that it can take over repetitive and simple actions, especially risky errands on places such as the ISS. The Robotnaut-2 project was successfully launched into space in 2011, but NASA is still making strides in building robots to send to the ISS. In addition, the space administration is working on ways to control robots from a safe and far distance.

Mighty Morphenaut runs on PS4. It permits operators to use a PSVR headset to look around and make decisions based on the humanoid's real-time environment. The robot follows the operator's cues with the help of a PS Move controller. The operator can expect a time lag in between, due to its distance from the robot.

The demo takes time delay into account. This feature makes it easier for operators to understand movement lapses.

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