Sign up FAST! Login

Stanford's humanoid robotic diver recovers treasures from King Louis XIV's wrecked flagship...

Stashed in: Robots!, Awesome, Stanford, Under the sea!, future, Ecology, Robot Jobs

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Anatomy of a robo-mermaid

The concept for OceanOne was born from the need to study coral reefs deep in the Red Sea, far below the comfortable range of human divers. No existing robotic submarine can dive with the skill and care of a human diver, so OceanOne was conceived and built from the ground up, a successful marriage of robotics, artificial intelligence and haptic feedback systems.

OceanOne looks something like a robo-mermaid. Roughly five feet long from end to end, its torso features a head with stereoscopic vision that shows the pilot exactly what the robot sees, and two fully articulated arms. The “tail” section houses batteries, computers and eight multi-directional thrusters.

The body looks far unlike conventional boxy robotic submersibles, but it’s the hands that really set OceanOne apart. Each fully articulated wrist is fitted with force sensors that relay haptic feedback to the pilot’s controls, so the human can feel whether the robot is grasping something firm and heavy, or light and delicate. (Eventually, each finger will be covered with tactile sensors.) The ‘bot’s brain also reads the data and makes sure that its hands keep a firm grip on objects, but that they don’t damage things by squeezing too tightly. In addition to exploring shipwrecks, this makes it adept at manipulating delicate coral reef research and precisely placing underwater sensors.

“You can feel exactly what the robot is doing,” Khatib said. “It’s almost like you are there; with the sense of touch you create a new dimension of perception.”

Seems like a brilliant use of robots: Get them to find us treasure!

Even better:  Lending a robotic hand in coral reef research!

The robots can be delicate with the reefs!

You May Also Like: