PlayStation VR is definitely going to change a lot in the videogame industry when it releases, but there are a number of other things that it is already changing, and top of the list is how NASA is dealing with new technology like controlling a humanoid robot.
They have created human-like robots – complete with hands, feet, joints and even fingers that work just like us – however, there is a major problem. NASA had to train humans to control the robots and the best way to do that was by motion control.
So in order to help their employees understand how to expertly control the robot and use it to do the job in their place in space. The best part is, NASA decided to collaborate with Sony to build a PlayStation VR demo that the astronauts would then use to get a grip on the humanoid robots.
Software Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Garrett Johnson, explains what was the idea behind this:
The hope is that by putting people in an environment where they can look around and move in ways that are much more intuitive than with a mouse and keyboard, it would require less training to understand how to operate the robot and enable quicker, more direct control of the motion.
The trainees are using PlayStation VR and PlayStation Move.
One of the major concerns in the demo is that there is a lag between the input and the actual reaction it gets from the humanoid robot which is going to further increase when the robot is in space and is being controlled from Earth.
In order to help with this, NASA is also training its employees to incorporate the lag in their reactions and anticipate the expected positioning of things alongside that. Also, Sony has tried to make things easier by introducing “ghost hands” into the demo that react immediately and let the user feel lesser lag.
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