Though it may not seem incredibly groundbreaking yet, an astronaut was able to direct a remote-controlled robot on Earth from space by placing a peg into a narrow hole from 500 miles away.
According to GeoBeats News:
An astronaut recently controlled a robot on Earth from aboard the International Space Station with astounding precision. Andreas Mogensen remotely took hold over the blue-and-white robot and directed it toward a circuit board.
Once at the board, the rover, via Mogensen’s joystick-based control, successfully placed a round peg into a quite narrow hole. The process used haptic, tactile-based technology; Mogensen could essentially feel his way through the entire experiment.
A series of signals relayed by a dedicated array of satellites working simultaneously provided Mogensen with force-feedback in real-time. On the rover’s first peg-insertion attempt, the astronaut was able to feel something wasn’t quite right.
Specifically, he could tell the pin hit the sides of the hole.
The second attempt was successful—and brought cheers.
Researchers anticipate such technology could be useful for upcoming Mars missions.
The technology has potential applications on Earth as well. Essentially any dangerous job where a human wouldn’t want to go could be made much easier.
But the potential is still greater.
There are presently places on Earth—like the inside of a thermonuclear reactor brandishing one-million degree heat—where a human simply cannot be. Haptic technology might offer a solution.
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