Telepresence robotics applications continue to get curiouser and curiouser. For instance, how about grooming your cat via a humanoid robot avatar?
That's what Tokyo-based software engineer Taylor Veltrop did with a from Aldebaran Robotics.
Veltrop devised an interesting control apparatus for Nao, a popular research robot known for its RoboCup soccer skills.
He wanted to manipulate Nao from a distance, so a treadmill and Kinect were used to navigate the bot, while a head-mounted display controlled Nao's head while showing its camera feeds. Veltrop could thus see through Nao's eyes.
A Wii remote and the Kinect were used to control Nao's arms, including the task of using a brush to groom a cat.
As seen in the vid below, it took patience and practice to get the job done, but Nao stands up, orients itself, takes a brush, and gets busy as Veltrop orchestrates its movements like a puppeteer.
The cat seems to enjoy the brushing, flicking his tail a few times, and doesn't complain too much when Nao inadvertently hits it on the head. The job done, Nao backs away, sits down, and waves goodbye.
It's a very cute experiment. Veltrop is now aiming to hear and speak through Nao and his head-mounted display.
Can remote-controlled robot haircuts be far off?