Tag: ‘Telepresence’

Elfoid: Humanoid mobile phone

04 Mar 2011

Elfoid humanoid mobile phone robot --
Elfoid -- a REAL android phone

Robotics researchers from Osaka University have teamed up with NTT Docomo and Qualcomm to develop a handheld humanoid phone that brings a new dimension to mobile communications. A prototype of the device -- called "Elfoid P1" -- was unveiled at a presentation in Tokyo on March 3.

Elfoid humanoid mobile phone robot --

The Elfoid phone is a miniature version of the Telenoid R1 robot developed last year by a research team led by Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro. The current prototype measures 20 centimeters (8 in) long, is covered in a soft fleshy urethane skin, and has the same genderless and ageless appearance as the Telenoid. The control buttons are embedded in the chest, which glows green when the Elfoid is in use.

Elfoid humanoid mobile phone robot --
Dr. Ishiguro with Telenoid and Elfoid [Photo by: eSeL.at]

Like the full-sized Telenoid robot, the Elfoid handset is designed to add an element of realism to long-distance communication by recreating the physical presence of a remote user.

Elfoid humanoid mobile phone robot --
[Photo: Ars Electronica]

Equipped with a camera and motion-capture system, the Elfoid phone will be able to watch the user's face and transmit motion data to another Elfoid phone, which can then reproduce the face and head movements in real-time.

Elfoid humanoid mobile phone robot --
[Photo by: d_&_r]

The current prototype is unable to move, but future versions will incorporate tiny motors and parts made from shape-memory alloys, allowing the Elfoid to move its eyes, mouth, neck and arms. Other features will include a temperature sensor, accelerometer, and an easy-to-use voice and gesture based interface.

Elfoid humanoid mobile phone robot --
[Photo by: antjeverena]

The developers hope to have a fully operational Elfoid mobile phone within five years.

[Sources: ATR, Gizmodo Japan, Yomiuri]

Telenoid R1 minimalist humanoid robot

02 Aug 2010

Researchers from Osaka University have teamed up with the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) to develop a minimalist humanoid robot that recreates the physical presence of a remote user.

Telenoid humanoid robot --

Named "Telenoid R1," the teleoperated communication robot measures 80 centimeters (31 in) tall and weighs 5 kilograms (11 lbs). The portable machine features a soft silicone body that is pleasant to the touch, and it uses 9 actuators to move its eyes, mouth, head and rudimentary limbs.

Telenoid humanoid robot -- Telenoid humanoid robot --
Data is transmitted between the user and robot via Internet connection

The Telenoid R1 robot is designed to add an element of realism to long-distance communication by recreating the physical presence of the remote user. The robot's actions mirror those of the remote user, whose movements are monitored by real-time face tracking software on the user's computer. Users can also transmit their voice through the robot's embedded speakers.

Telenoid humanoid robot --
Telenoid R1 with Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro (Osaka University)

The Telenoid R1 is endowed with only the most basic human features -- just enough to recreate the physical presence of the remote user, according to robot's creators. The robot's androgynous and ageless look makes it suitable for a wide range of users, whether they are male, female, young or old.

Telenoid humanoid robot --
English lessons can be conducted via the Telenoid R1 robot

At the unveiling in Osaka on August 1, the developers announced plans to begin selling two versions of the minimalist humanoid in October. The high-end model will be priced at about 3 million yen ($35,000), and a cheaper model will be available for about 700,000 yen ($8,000).

Here's a short video demonstration.

[Sources: Telenoid, AFP, Yomiuri]

Geminoid F: Remote-control female android

05 Apr 2010

+ Video

Researchers from the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University have teamed up with robot maker Kokoro Co., Ltd. to create a realistic-looking remote-control female android that mimics the facial expressions and speech of a human operator.

Modeled after a woman in her twenties, the android -- called Geminoid F (the "F" stands for female) -- has long black hair, soft silicone skin, and a set of lifelike teeth that allow her to produce a natural smile.

Geminoid F, tele-operated fembot --

According to the developers, the robot's friendly and approachable appearance makes her suitable for receptionist work at sites such as museums. The researchers also plan to test her ability to put hospital patients at ease.

The research is being led by Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is known for creating teleoperated robot twins such as the celebrated Geminoid HI-1, which was modeled after himself.

Geminoid F --

The new Geminoid F can produce facial expressions more naturally than its predecessors -- and it does so with a much more efficient design. While the previous Geminoid HI-1 model was equipped with 46 pneumatic actuators, the Geminoid F uses only 12.

In addition, the entire air servo control system is housed within the robot's body and is powered by a small external compressor that runs on standard household electricity.

Geminoid F --
Geminoid F and her human counterpart, wearing outfits by fashion designer Junko Koshino

The Geminoid F's easy-to-use teleoperation system, which was developed by ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, consists of a smart camera that tracks the operator's facial movements. The corresponding data is relayed to the robot's control system, which coordinates the movement of the pneumatic actuators to reproduce the expressions on the android's face.

The efficient design makes the robot much cheaper to produce than previous models. Kokoro plans to begin selling copies of the Geminoid F next month for about 10 million yen ($110,000) each.

[Via: Kokoro, AFP]

Remote-control shopping robot

11 Jul 2008

tmsuk remote-control shopping robot --

Robot developer tmsuk has unveiled a remote-control robot that promises a new way to shop from the comfort of home. A prototype of the telerobotic shopper -- a modified TMSUK-4 humanoid robot that incorporates a variety of cellphone communications technology -- was demonstrated on July 10 at the Izutsuya department store in the city of Kitakyushu, Japan.

In the demonstration, an unwell grandmother unable to go shopping with her granddaughter sent the robot in her place. Using an NTT DoCoMo video-capable cellphone, the grandmother was able to control the robot and enjoy the shopping experience through the robot's camera eyes. As curious shoppers looked on, the woman maneuvered the robot to the hat section, eyed what was available on the shelf, and had her granddaughter model a few for her before deciding which one to purchase.

According to tmsuk, this innovative type of "3D communications" technology brings us a step closer to a future in which telerobotic shoppers roam the fashionable areas of cities like New York or London.

[Source: Data Max]

Video: Telesurgical origami crane

18 Jun 2008

Origami crane folded via daVinci Surgical System --

In this video, Dr. Norihiko Ishikawa of the Department of Telesurgery and Geomedicine at the University of Kanazawa demonstrates the precision of the daVinci Surgical System by using the device's remote-control robot arms to fold a penny-sized origami crane. (Watch it.)

[Via: DVICE]

TWISTER: Telexistence Wide-angle Immersive STEReoscope

26 Jun 2007

TWISTER: Telexistence Wide-angle Immersive STEReoscope

A research team led by Susumu Tachi from the University of Tokyo has developed a rotating panoramic display that immerses viewers in a 3D video environment. The Telexistence Wide-angle Immersive STEReoscope, or TWISTER, is the world's first full-color 360-degree 3D display that does not require viewers to wear special glasses, says professor Tachi, who has spent over 10 years researching and developing the device.

TWISTER -- Inside the 1.2 meter (4 ft) tall, 2 meter (6.5 ft) wide cylindrical display are 50,000 LEDs arranged in columns. As the display rotates around the observer's head at a speed of 1.6 revolutions per second, these specially arranged LED columns show a slightly different image to each of the observer's eyes, thus creating the illusion of a 3D image. In other words, TWISTER tricks the eye by exploiting what is known as "binocular parallax" -- the apparent difference in position of an object as seen separately by the left eye and the right eye.

TWISTER -- For now, TWISTER is capable of serving up pre-recorded 3D video from a computer, allowing viewers to experience things like virtual amusement park rides or close-up views of molecular models. However, the researchers are working to develop TWISTER's 3D videophone capabilities by equipping it with a camera system that can capture real-time three-dimensional images of the person inside, which can then be sent to another TWISTER via fiber optics. In this way, two people separated by physical distance will be able to step into their TWISTERs to enjoy real-time 3D virtual interaction.

However, given TWISTER's size, the first order of business might be to figure out how to fit it through your front door.

[Source: Asahi]

NTT’s Tangible-3D display

21 Jun 2007

NTT Comware Tangible-3D Technology -- Researchers at NTT Comware have just made virtual reality a little more real. On June 20, the company unveiled a 3D display system that reproduces the physical feel of three-dimensional video by means of an actuator glove worn on the hand, allowing viewers to literally reach out and touch the person or object on the screen.

The so-called "Tangible-3D" prototype system is built around an improved version of NTT's 3D display -- originally developed in 2005 -- which displays 3D images without requiring special glasses. The system relies on a pair of cameras that capture and process data about the position, shape and size of objects as they are filmed. As the two video images are combined into a 3D image that is displayed on the screen at the receiving end, the data is relayed to the glove, whose array of actuators translate it into a tactile impression the user can feel. The glove operates in real-time along with the 3D video, so the user can "feel" the on-screen image as it moves.

For now, the Tangible-3D system only works in one direction, but NTT Comware is developing a two-way system that allows tactile impressions to be transmitted back and forth between multiple users. The company is also working to improve the 3D screen, which only appears three-dimensional from a particular viewing angle.

While the possibilities for this technology are endless, NTT Comware suggests it could be put to use in museum exhibits that would allow visitors to handle items on display that are ordinarily off-limits. The company also says this technology could be put to use in classrooms, where it would allow students to touch objects located very far away.

NTT Comware will exhibit the Tangible-3D system at the Industrial Virtual Reality Expo being held at Tokyo Big Sight from June 27 to 29.

[Source: NTT Comware press release via Mainichi]

NTT’s cellphone-operated remote control home system

25 Apr 2007

Cellphone-operated remote control home ---

NTT-Neomeit, an NTT subisidiary, has unveiled plans for a convenient and inexpensive service that allows users to remotely control home devices from their cellphones. Scheduled for launch in September, the "U-Consento" service is designed to be compatible with a wide range of existing home appliances, so users do not need to purchase new devices or perform extensive home rewiring.

To control devices, users access a web page via cellphone and select the desired operations. The commands are then sent via the web to a wireless router in the home, which relays signals to an infrared transmitter and remote control power switches. The infrared transmitter, which operates like a universal remote, relays those signals to remote controllable devices such as home A/V equipment. Easy-to-install remote control switches connected to power outlets allow users to turn on and off the power to lamps and other devices not pre-equipped with remote control.

Cellphone-operated remote control home --- In addition to being able to control the room temperature, blast the stereo and program the video recorder -- all while outside the home -- users can also check the current operating status of each device and view records of how each device has been used. According to NTT-Neomeit, this ability to monitor device usage provides a convenient way for users to keep tabs on the activity of their elderly parents from afar.

NTT-Neomeit plans to rent the home remote control system starting at around 500 yen ($4) per month, and service will initially be limited to NTT broadband subscribers in western Japan. Pilot testing will be conducted in the Kansai area from May to August.

[Source: Yomiuri, NTT-Neomeit press release]

SHOJI: Symbiotic Hosting Online Jog Instrument

07 Nov 2006

SHOJI: Symbiotic Hosting Online Jog Instrument -- On November 6, GS Yuasa and the University of Tokyo unveiled a system that ascertains the "mood" of a room by monitoring a variety of factors -- including the feelings and behavior of the people in the room -- and relays the mood data to remote terminals where it is expressed as colored LED light.

The system, called SHOJI (Symbiotic Hosting Online Jog Instrument), is similar in concept to KOTOHANA (developed by NEC and SGI), which are pairs of flower-shaped terminals that share data and change color according to emotion detected in voice patterns.

Like KOTOHANA, the SHOJI system consists of a pair of terminals placed at separate locations. Each terminal is equipped with a full-color LED array, a microphone and five sensors (developed at the University of Tokyo) that detect light, temperature, humidity, infrared radiation and ultrasonic waves. In addition to constantly measuring the room?s environmental conditions, SHOJI terminals can detect the presence and movement of people, body temperature, and the nature of the activity in the room.

Each SHOJI terminal constantly sends the room's mood data over the Internet to the other terminal, where it is expressed as colored light on the LED array. By checking the color of light on the SHOJI terminal, users can easily understand the mood in the other room.

SHOJI's display consists of 10 rows of LEDs that emit colors corresponding to different emotions -- red for anger, blue for sadness, yellow for happiness, and green for peace. The display also provides a clear indication of mood shifts, with the top 5 rows representing the current mood of the room and the bottom 5 representing the recent past.

GS Yuasa will soon put SHOJI to a series of field tests at Tokyo-area companies, allowing head office managers to keep tabs on the mood at branch offices (and vice-versa). Tests are also planned at hospitals and in residential settings.

With the product release scheduled for April 2007, GS Yuasa plans to market SHOJI to companies at a price of between 300,000 to 400,000 yen ($2,500 to $3,300).

[Source: Fuji Sankei]