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New iCub 3 biped robotic used as a long-distance avatar for its operator

We first heard concerning the child-like iCub humanoid robotic again in 2011, when it was nominated to participate within the Olympic Torch Relay. The newest and biggest model, the iCub 3, was the star of a recently-announced (and fairly spectacular) telepresence demonstration.

Developed on the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Expertise, or IIT), the biped iCub 3 includes a complete of 53 actuated levels of freedom – seven in every arm, 9 in every hand, six within the head, three within the torso/waist and 6 in every leg. Its head incorporates swivelling stereo cameras which function eyes, twin microphones for ears, and animated strains of LEDs which signify its mouth and eyebrows inside its face panel.

Tactile sensors inside every of its fingertips moreover give the robotic a way of contact. It is 25 cm taller and 19 kg heavier than earlier fashions, topping out at 1.25 m (4 ft, 1 in) and tipping the scales at 52 kg (115 lb). Different enhancements embrace a higher-capacity battery (positioned within the torso versus on the again); extra highly effective leg motors for quicker strolling speeds; higher, extra human-like steadiness and locomotion; plus a brand new depth-sensing digital camera.

The iCub 3 makes its way through the Italian pavilion, remotely controlled by its human operator

The iCub 3 makes its manner by way of the Italian pavilion, remotely managed by its human operator


For the demo – which happened on Nov. eighth, 2021 – the robotic was positioned on the seventeenth Worldwide Structure Exhibition’s Italian Pavilion in Venice, whereas its operator was 300 km (186 mi) away at an IIT lab within the metropolis of Genova. An ordinary fiber optic connection was used to hyperlink the 2.

The operator utilized a collection of wearable gadgets, which is named the iFeel system. These devices embrace a number of IMUs (inertial measurement items) positioned at varied places on a physique go well with; “gloves” that each monitor the consumer’s finger actions and relay tactile sensations from the robotic’s finger pads; and a VR headset – the latter tracks the consumer’s facial expressions, eyelids and eye actions, picks up their voice, plus it permits them to see what the robotic is seeing, and to listen to what it is listening to.

Moreover, the operator stood in a VR rig that allowed them to stroll on the spot.

The iCub 3's operator, all suited up in the iFeel system

The iCub 3’s operator, all suited up within the iFeel system


This mixture of applied sciences let robotic function an avatar for the operator, because it walked across the pavilion, had a dialog with a human tour information, shook their hand, and even hugged them – for the latter, haptic suggestions items within the torso of the physique go well with let the operator really feel that hug. All the pieces occurred in actual time, with a lag of only some milliseconds.

“We consider that this analysis route has an amazing potential in lots of fields,” stated the undertaking’s coordinator, IIT’s Daniele Pucci. “On the one hand, the current pandemic taught us that superior telepresence techniques may change into mandatory in a short time throughout totally different fields, like healthcare and logistics. However, avatars might enable individuals with extreme bodily disabilities to work and achieve duties in the true world by way of the robotic physique. This can be an evolution of rehabilitation and prosthetics applied sciences.”

Highlights from the iCub 3 demonstration could be seen within the following video.

iCub 3 Avatar System – Tele esistenza

Supply: IIT



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