What if you had extra robotic limbs attached to your backside? And what if you could utilize them as easily as any other limb? This is what the researchers wanted to answer. The result of their research? MetaLimbs – a cheap, attachable set of robotic limbs that use motion tracking gear to mimic the motion of the user’s legs. By attaching the gear to the user’s feet and knees, the tracker translates the motions into the robot arms, allowing the user to gain precise control.
Not only that, but with the help of haptic technology – tactile sensors that mimic the sensation of touch – whenever the robotic hands come into contact with an object, whether it be a ball or a cup, individual sensors translate that touch to the feet, allowing the user to actually feel the contact.
For now, these attachable robot arms are best used when sitting down and are quite limited in functionality when standing upright. The researchers will officially unveil the MetaLimbs at the upcoming Siggraph 2017 conference. And when they’ll be released to the public, if ever, is still unclear. Either way, we can definitely say for certain that the future is now!
Photo Credit: Inami Hiyama Laboratory