New robot lets friends hitch a ride on your shoulder

Technology News Blog

Designed by researchers at Yamagata University in Japan, the MH-2 Wearable Communication Robot is a new take on the idea of telepresence, or being somewhere through the eyes and limbs of a surrogate robot. We've already seen telepresence robots that can brush your furry friends and even kiss your loved ones from afar, but this "miniature humanoid" — hence the MH-2 designation — is meant to sit on your shoulder and allow someone else to share your experiences while communicating with you through lifelike gestures.

Its arms, hands, and neck are tied to a series of 22 motors by wires and are manipulated remotely like a puppet. On top of this, the robot's chest contains actuators that make it move in and out as if it were breathing. Since the motors responsible for moving the head and limbs are external, they're housed in a backpack, which makes the entire setup seem like a bit of a cumbersome affair.

In addition to communicating through gestures, the MH-2 lets the remote operator see what you're seeing using a pair of tiny cameras mounted on its head, and speak with you using a built-in speaker and microphone. Its creators intend for future versions of the bot to be self-contained and look far more human, as you can see at the end of the video above.


This article was written by Randy Nelson and originally appeared on Tecca

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