These Giant Robot Arms Make Alien's Power Loader Look Puny

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 - 10:46AM
Robotics
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 - 10:46AM
These Giant Robot Arms Make Alien's Power Loader Look Puny
Get away from her you filthy, heavy pipes! OK, I'm no Ripley and that's not exactly the iconic line from Aliens, but if given the opportunity to pilot seven-foot-long robot arms like the ones designed and built by US robotics company Sarcos, that is probably what I would yell out from behind the controls.

The Guardian GT is a dual-armed robot capable of lifting 1,000 lbs with very little effort from the human controller.

The machine features stereo cameras so the operator can see what it sees through custom goggles, force feedback so that the controller feels when the robot comes into contact with an object, and custom built hands capable of gripping big objects and lightly pressing buttons on a control panel.

"Instead of lifting a thousand pounds you feel like you're lifting five," Sarcos CEO Ben Wolff told Wired about the machine, which is designed to operate much like the human body and with the same wrist to elbow, elbow to shoulder, and shoulder to head/neck ratios.

"So it's very intuitive," Wolff added. "That kinematic equivalent concept enables a brand new operator with no training at all to be able to get into the machine."



Watching the worker operate the Guardian GT in the demonstration video looks like a lot of fun, but the machine is absolutely made to work.

Its lifting capabilities could reduce the physical strain on a human workforce while also protecting them from harm during dangerous operations.

On the question of whether or not these kinds of robots will eventually replace living, breathing workers, Wolff argued that the human touch can not be replicated or replaced. 

"While I think that we will see increasing amounts of autonomy and AI," he said.

"I think the real role in work generally is for us to find as humans how to maximize the utility of robots. Allow them to do what they're really good at while still relying on what humans are best at, which is wisdom and judgment."
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