West Japan Railway Company has released a video of their new humanoid heavy equipment robot. Attached to the end of a crane, this gundam-style robot body mimics the movements of the arms and head of a human pilot, who can see through the robot’s eyes through VR goggles.
The main goals here, according to the company, are “enhancing productivity and safety,” allowing workers to naturally lift and manipulate heavy equipment around the rail system without the risk of electric shock. or fall.
The robot’s large body is attached to a hydraulic crane arm, which moves around the rail system on a specially braced carriage, stabilizing its feet when it’s time to get to work.
A human pilot wears a set of VR goggles, which are motion-tracked to control Wall-E-style head movements with stereo vision. Grasping a pair of handles, the pilot can move the robot’s arms and hands – and if an external force such as weight moves the robot’s arms, this motion will be reflected back to the controls. of the pilot.
A video released on Twitter shows the robot lifting and positioning some sizable components, as well as cleaning overhead rail structures with a special multi-angle brush. It grips all these tools like a relatively simple “hand”, showing a reasonable level of dexterity, despite operating at a rather slow pace.
Normally, any attempt to make a robot look like a human would lead us to think that it might not work as well as it could. are not looks like a human. But in this case, it makes sense: the pilot can quickly gain a sense of the kinematics of operating the robot, since its arms and head are in familiar positions relative to each other.
JR West is developing this machine in partnership with Human Machinery. and Nippon Signal co. We couldn’t determine what’s next for this broad-shouldered monster from the press release, but you can enjoy the video below.
Source: JR West