You know how we keep getting products on the consumer side as a result of NASA R&D? Well, now it's the other way around. Not only do we get stunning photography and adventure via Star Wars-like robots, but robotic feats are also going further. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory team at NASA is testing a combination of the Xbox One Kinect sensor and the Oculus Rift headset.
What the JPL has been able to do with this combo of position tracking and rotational tracking is manipulate the JACO robot arm in real time. In the future, sensor array data will be integrated, and the research will be translated to the Robonaut 2 humanoid on the International Space Station. This technology will be valuable wherever autonomous or controller-operated robots aren't fast or flexible enough to operate.
In another NASA-based bit of news, Google's Schaft (see video below), won the DARPA robotic rescue challenge trial held Dec. 20-21. This trial was the second of three scheduled for the entrants. It seems like Atlas got the proverbial Schaft this time. Stay tuned to see who will take first place. A cool $2 million is at stake.
— Carolyn Mathas is a freelance blogger and editor for EE Times' Industrial Control Designline