It's worse than that Watson, we're in some kind of giant robotarium
Cyberselves, a robotics software company, working with the National Robotarium, based at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, and Resolve Robotics, have been awarded funding to develop telexistence technologies for hazardous environments. Telexistence and other immersive technologies find ways to physically remove humans from dangerous situations such as nuclear decommissioning and bomb disposal by using a robot as a surrogate self. The technologies allow humans to experience and operate in remote environments via a robot without risk.
Emergent technologies - such as cloud robotics, VR, AI, and haptics - now allow humans to telepresence remotely into a robot, be immersed in a remote environment or situation and to receive haptic feedback (1) to enhance the level of immersion. The project, named ‘TEL-SUBSEA’ will develop underwater solutions for bomb disposal and nuclear decommissioning. The project is one of eleven in an £800,000 programme managed by DASA, run on behalf of the Ministry of Defence’s Chief Scientific Adviser and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), and managed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
Designed to help save lives and reduce human exposure to risk, the collaborative team will create a robot-agnostic, low-latency communication system that addresses the current challenge areas of telepresence: haptics, robotics, and telecoms. While immediate work will focus on bomb disposal and nuclear decommissioning, wider potential applications include offshore wind production and space exploration.Cyberselves, which will lead the project, spun out of Sheffield Robotics, a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, in March 2020 with the vision of bringing unity and simplicity to robotics. The company’s mission is to address the barriers inhibiting the widespread adoption of robots within industrial, commercial and domestic settings. The company has already developed a successful telepresence application, which secured them a place in the semi-finals of the ANA Avatar XPrize.