The nuclear reactor meltdown the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in March 2011 is considered to be the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. It is estimated that if the cooling system could have been turned back on within a few hours of the initial failure, then the catastrophe could have been greatly minimized. Imagine if a human could have entered the facility after the disaster and performed the required task. This wasn’t an option because any human would be harmed by the high level of radiation before even getting near the Power Plant. So, what if we could send a human-like machine immune to radiation and able to perform activities similar to a human? This intuitive idea is the core concept of HERMES (Highly Efficient Robotic Mechanisms and Electromechanical System) at the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory at MIT.
This work includes the concept, design, and experimental implementation of a full-body teleoperation system for human-in-the-loop control of a humanoid robot. The purpose of this Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is to create a new media to aid the task of bilateral feedback during full-body teleoperation of humanoid robots. It explores human’s primitive motor skills to enhance the dynamic behavior of the slave platform to a performance level comparable to humans. This project aims to leverage legged robot’s performance to respond to disaster situations such as nuclear, fire, or chemical hazards. We expect to reliably deploy a legged platform to a dangerous environments and perform powerful manipulation tasks such as hammering/axing, moving/lifting heavy objects, etc. We believe this is the key technology that allows for the paradigm shift from quasi-static regime to truly dynamic performance of humanoid robots.
HERMES at MIT News:
HERMES Team entry at UAE Robotics for Good Award:
For the past two years, we have been working on the first version of the HERMES System, including the Human Machine Interface (Balance Feedback Interface and Motion Capture Suit) and the humanoid robot itself. All the hardware and software is developed and tested in the lab so the team can easily modify and improve the machine in the hardware and software level.
J. Ramos, A. Wang, and S. Kim, "Robot-Human Balance State Transfer during Full-Body Humanoid Teleoperation Using Divergent Component of Motion Dynamics" in Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2016 IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2016. (Accepted)
J. Ramos, A. Wang, J. Mayo, W. Ubellacker, and S. Kim, “A Balance Feedback Interface for Whole-Body Teleoperation of a Humanoid Robot and Implementation in the Hermes System,” in Humanoid Robots, 2015 15th IEEE-RAS International Conference on. IEEE, 2015.
A. Wang, J. Ramos, J. Mayo, W. Ubellacker, and S. Kim, “The HERMES Humanoid System: A Platform for Full-body Teleoperation with Balance Feedback”, in Humanoid Robots, 2015 15th IEEE-RAS International Conference on. IEEE, 2015
J. Ramos, A. Wang, and S. Kim, “A Balance Feedback Human Machine Interface for Humanoid Teleoperation in Dynamic Tasks”, in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on., IEEE, 2015.