Augmented robots and VR-controlled robots are revolutionizing the robotics industry. By combining AR, VR and robotics, engineers can push the boundaries of science and technology, as well as medicine and exploration.
There are many ways to combine these three technologies, but a handful of applications stand out today. They reveal some key benefits of the collaboration between AR, VR and robots.
1. Training for humans and robots
AR, VR and robotics are useful technologies for training on their own. Combining them can make education in many areas more intuitive, immersive and safer. AR and VR can even help you train robots yourself. There are countless ways engineers and organizations around the world implement these technologies together.
For example, VR has long been seen as the perfect military training tool. People could learn in an immersive, hands-on setting without the danger of causing or sustaining actual damage. This is especially important in the military, which is significantly more dangerous than most other areas. These technology-driven training programs can be taken to a whole new level when VR is combined with robotics.
Pilots can use VR to fly robotic drones remotely, combining the actual flying experience and instincts of humans with the safety and disposable nature of drones. The same combination of technology could also be used to train pilots. In fact, the US military investigates on VR controlled robots to use for training and simulated missions.
AR and VR can also help develop and train smarter robots. Researchers have used virtual environments to train robot AI models for object recognition and gripper control. Programs like this make for faster, more affordable training because the bot doesn’t need real objects to work with while learning. Likewise, workers in various industries could use VR and virtual environments to learn to operate these machines safely.
2. Improving User Safety
Security is an increasingly common motivation for using AR, VR and robotics in many environments. These technologies can often make hazardous tasks much less hazardous and make operating different machines easier and safer.
Likewise, AR and VR can help make robots more secure. For example, some dangerous tasks are too complex to fully automate. However, a trained professional can use a VR controlled robot to perform the necessary functions without being endangered.
Robotics developers are apply this combination of technology one of the most dangerous jobs: defusing bomb attacks. Professional bomb dismantlers receive extensive specialized training to minimize the risk they face on the job, but even the smallest mistake can be fatal. VR-controlled robots eliminate this risk by combining the agile precision of a bot with the expertise of a human. The robots are controlled from a safe distance, allowing operators to concentrate better because they are not in danger themselves.
Augmented robots can make many types of jobs safer. Production is becoming increasingly automated, with machines taking over more and more tasks. However, humans are still a crucial part of the process. Production professionals can use VR-controlled robots from a safe distance. A similar strategy could also be used in areas such as construction and mining.
In addition, VR and AR could potentially improve the safety of robots themselves. For example, VR simulations can be used to test their performance and resilience in bad weather. This can help reveal issues such as structural defects or corrosion risks.
Corrosion is a major concern for robots in outdoor environments such as construction. It causes a dizzying $23.4 billion in damage every year. AR can even help technicians look for signs of wear on real robots.
3. Evolving remote working
Augmented robots are making incredible things possible these days. Most people who have been diagnosed with debilitating illnesses and medical conditions cannot have regular jobs or leave home without assistance. Thanks to VR-controlled robots, that may no longer be the case in the future. In reality, an innovative cafe in Tokyo? makes it a reality.
At DAWN Robot Cafe, the waiters and hosting staff are robots that are remotely controlled by people with various ailments that prevent them from leaving their homes. They use the robots to communicate with customers, take orders, deliver food, and perform all the other tasks a typical waiter would do.
The “pilots” use different technologies to control the robots depending on their physical abilities. Some people even control their robot avatars solely through eye movements. DAWN Cafe and similar programs could use VR to provide employees with a more comfortable and immersive work experience through augmented robots as technology evolves.
Military applications are often the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of VR-controlled robots. However, applying these combined technologies in civilian spaces clearly has some astonishing benefits. DAWN Cafe could pioneer the future of a new kind of remote work and even remote socialization that could improve millions of lives worldwide.
4. Improving Healthcare
Medical care is limited and difficult to access in some parts of the world. Unfortunately, many patients die because they cannot receive the necessary surgery or treatment. Studies estimate that 8.6 million deaths could be prevented each year through improved access to quality medical care. VR-controlled robots can help solve this problem.
Surgical robots have already been developed and are used in hospitals worldwide. These robots allow surgeons to perform procedures with a high degree of precision, but they still require the doctor to be personally present to operate the robot. likewise, VR programs are already being used to train doctors to perform various procedures. By combining these two technologies to create VR-controlled robots, doctors around the world can perform remote surgeries on patients.
This overcomes a major hurdle in medicine in poorer areas. Surgeons – especially specialists – are hard to find because people need years of study and training to take on these professions. A robot is much easier to obtain. Hospitals can be equipped with augmented robots that can perform surgery with the help of a doctor on the other side of the world, with the surgery being performed in VR. Much more development is needed to make something like this happen, but combining VR and robots could one day save lives.
5. Pushing boundaries
One of the most exciting benefits of combining VR and robots is the new horizons it unlocks. Some environments are just too harsh for people to travel to safely or easily. However, these parts of the world — and even the solar system — hold a wealth of potential discoveries and scientific breakthroughs. VR-controlled robots can help scientists push the boundaries of exploration.
For example, scientists use robots to explore the deepest parts of the Earth’s oceans. One such robot called Orpheus, developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, can withstand the immense pressure it experiences more than 20,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. That is much further than a human could safely dive. Soon, scientists will be able to develop more sophisticated ocean exploration robots equipped with VR cameras, allowing scientists to explore the depths themselves from the safety of shores.
Interestingly, the same technology could help humans interact with alien life for the first time here in the solar system. Astronomers hypothesize that at least two moons here contain liquid oceans: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, and Titan, a moon of Saturn. Traveling to these places would take years, so a round trip would be a lifetime for the astronauts on board. However, explorers could use a VR-controlled robot to visit these worlds without leaving life on Earth behind. Ocean exploration robots developed on Earth can also be used on Europa and Titan.
Augmented Robots and VR Controlled Robots
Augmented robots and VR controlled robots are changing the world every day. Scientists and engineers make breakthroughs in these technologies every year. Some of these incredible innovations are already a reality. Others are not far behind. The combination of AR, VR and robotics can save lives, change the world and push the boundaries of exploration and discovery.