Armed with Human Reflexes, A Robot May Tackle Tasks Otherwise Too Dangerous
In response to robots' longstanding image analysis shortcomings, HERMES mimics a human's movements via a wireless body unit
Researchers at MIT with funding from DARPA (the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency —the same group that gave us the Internet) are working on a bipedal robot that mimics the motions of a human operating it. This gives the robot, named HERMES, the strength of industrial equipment with the range of motion and reflexes of a human being.
Fans of Aliens will recognize the control rig. HERMES' controller dons a body harness with boots connected wirelessly to the robot. As the controller makes gross motor moves like walking or turning, HERMES mimics the action. Fine-motor activities are controlled by a pair of joysticks—one for each of the controller's hands.