Cyberselves uses PAL Robotics’ TIAGo robot teleoperation for virtual hugs

The mobile manipulator TIAGo robot for teleoperation

PAL Robotics and Cyberselves 

Cyberselves, a UK robotics software company, has recently achieved major recognition for their initiative using robot teleoperation for ‘virtual hugs’, including PAL Robotics’ TIAGo.  

Cyberselves has created an app that gives users a robot’s point of view through a VR headset and handheld controllers. The telepresence technology lets people see and hear what the robot sees and hears, as well as giving the sensation of moving around in the robot’s body, all through the internet and in real-time.  

The Cyberselves app, called Teleport, is compatible with any robot and can be used through an internet browser or phone as well as a VR headset. “You can control a robot on another continent from where you are, you can see through its camera, control its head, its hands, interact with objects, and get a feeling of the weight or texture of an object it is touching,” Daniel Camilleri, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Cyberselves, said.

The Cyberselves' team that worked on teleoperated virtual hugs with TIAGo robot

How the robot teleoperation app works

The user can log into Cyberselves’ Teleport app through a VR headset (with wearable motion controllers) for the most immersive experience, or access it via their computer or phone. The robot responds to the user’s controls and commands, via the cloud, in real-time (or with such low latency that it seems to be real-time). The user can see, hear and feel the robot remotely, regardless of their location.

Cyberselves is one of the finalists in the ANA Avatar XPRIZE global robotics competition. ANA Avatar XPRIZE aims to create an avatar system that can transport human presence to a remote location in real-time, for example, presence and care to anyone instantly, regardless of distance, or rare trade skills for critical maintenance or repairs. The company that wins will receive a share of prize money to further develop its technology. 

Teleoperation in robotics for healthcare, tourism, and rescue 

The Teleport app is powered by Animus, Cyberselves’ cloud-based universal robotics platform. Animus allows code to run on any robot, which is how Teleport users can choose between different robots within the same application. Therefore, as well as helping users to hug distant relatives, the technology allows for the creation of applications that can be used in healthcare and exploring tourist attractions. The app can also be used to perform tasks in hazardous environments remotely, such as nuclear decommissioning or search and rescue operations.

Cyberselves was founded in 2018 at the University of Sheffield and launched officially as a spinout in March 2020. According to Cyberselves, “our cyber-selves are versions of us that inhabit the many areas of our lives that are governed by digital or machine technologies.”  Cyberselves was initially set up as an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional research project looking at what happens to human beings as we increasingly find ourselves engaging in immersive, digital cultures. From there the group developed a robot teleoperation application, and re-created Cyberselves as a company, to take advantage of their knowledge and experience. 

TIAGo, the mobile manipulator for HRI and much more 

TIAGo, the mobile manipulator was developed by PAL Robotics in 2015 and has been evolving continuously. The robot combines perception, navigation, manipulation & Human-Robot Interaction skills out of the box. 

The robot is the platform of choice for universities and research institutions worldwide, as well as various European Research Projects that choose the robot as a research platform. The TIAGo robot is suitable for a range of scenarios, including applications in Ambient Assisted Living, Factories of the Future, and Smart Cities. A number of these projects also work with TIAGo robot in teleoperation.

The newest addition to the TIAGo mobile manipulation family is TIAGo OMNI++. TIAGo OMNI++ is complete with omnidirectional drive with 3 DoF mecanum wheels. These bring the robot 360 degrees of movement and more flexibility than ever.

If you would like to learn more about TIAGo robot, visit our website to read more. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to ask more about how to use TIAGo for enhancing your research and development projects. If you liked this article, don’t miss out our blog on robotics.

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