MIT robotics students have created a robot that can imitate human reflexes.
According to the project team member Albert Wang at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, “[The team] decided that connecting the robot to a human operator was the easiest way to incorporate the kind of intelligence we need. It would take a computer a long time and a lot of programming to come to the quick conclusions that humans come to almost instantaneously through good instincts.”
Hermes is similar to the jaegers from the 2013 film Pacific Rim where pilots were connected to machines physically and mentally in order to operate the large humanoid-battle robots for combat. This tech is also reminiscent of anime fighting robots in Mobile Suit Gundam.
The setup is simple enough. A person wears an exoskeleton of wires and motors as a sensor suit. The suit makes Hermes balance and move very similarly to a person.
“An example is walking, which is just a process of falling and catching yourself. That’s something that feels effortless to us, but it’s challenging to program into a robot to do it both dynamically and efficiently,” says team member Joao Ramos.
Hermes will be part of the 2015 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency robotics competition.
The robot could be used to help people build houses, perform surgery or even give the elderly newfound strength. MIT released a video showing the robot’s capabilities for the public. Take a look below: