Your Imaginary Friend Doesn’t Have to Be Invisible

The Mini Humanoid Wearable Communication Robot, or MH-2 for short, is the creation of Yuichi Tsumake, Fumiaki Ono and other members of the Telerobotics Lab at Yamagata University in Japan. The wearable robot was recently presented at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in St. Paul, Minn., and needless to say, it caught lots of attention.

This wearable wearable communication system acts as an avatar to communicate with people around the MH-2. The experiences of the local person can also be shared with a remote operator. The whole interchange is made possible by a wearable robotic system. MH-2 reproduces human movements and gestures in a realistic fashion through a combination of a 3-dorf parallel wire mechanism, 20 axes of motion and 22 mini linear actuators.

Currently, MH-2 can perform the bye-bye gesture four times in 1.8 seconds, other arm gestures, move its head from side-to-side and bow. It can even mimic breathing with its chest rising and falling. The linear actuators that move the robot locally are hidden in a backpack. However, in addition to two-way audio and video feeds, the remote person would utilize a motion-capture system to “talk” to MH-2.

The Telerobotics Lab has been working on the idea or wearble humanoid robots for over tens years. The ultimate goal is a form of tele-existence for the wearer, who will take the robotic avatar wherever he/they go. The good news is, other people will be able to see you’re imaginary friend too. The bad news is “real” friends might find it a little creepy.

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