DORA: Realistic Teleoperating Robot Experience With Oculus Rift
DORA (Dexterous Observational Roving Automaton) is a project that aims to provide a fully immersive telepresence and teleoperated robot experience and functionality.
Developed by a team of robot scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, DORA is attempting to provide the robot experience at an affordable cost. High-end telepresence system and robots developed by military and NASA cost millions of dollars, simply not affordable for mainstream consumers.
On the other hand, although affordable, consumer-targeted commercial robots such as Pepper and BeamPro are available, but they do not provide an immersive teleoperating experience. They are either pre-programmed to respond, or they are more like a walking tablet or pad that is unable to simulate precise human motions like DORA does.
Meet DORA Team from University of Pennsylvania
The DORA team’s goal is to provide a fully immersive teleoperating robot experience that is so realistic, the person operating the robot from a distance would feel like actually being there.
DORA sensor tracks user’s head in all six degree of freedom, and then its computer system will calculate, render and display the real-world image on user’s head mounted display, in this case, Oculus Rift.
DORA's Specification Challenge & Latency Rate
According to Ieee Spectrum, DORA’s cameras each streams 976 x 582 video at 30 frames per second, which is a bit lower than what the Oculus Rift can handle in both resolution and frame rate. However, at this time, DORA is only a prototype; this problem can be improved with a camera upgrade.
The key to enable users thinking and feeling like they are actually there is low latency rate, according to Oculus, early virtual reality oriented researches suggest that 60 milliseconds is “an upper limit for acceptable VR, and most people agree that if latency is below 20 ms, the lag is no longer perceptible. The team told Ieee Spectrum, that they have measured approx.. 70 milliseconds latency rate for the DORA prototype, the team is working on improvements.
According to Engadget, when DORA is ready launch, it will first be used for museum virtual tour and as an emergency responder. DORA consumer version will then follow-up next.
We can already foresee some amazing potential applications of DORA's concept and technology, perhaps in the near future robots would be so technologically advanced, that they would be able to simulate human facial gestures using virtual reality facial simulation technologies!
Content & Image Source: DORA, Ieee Spectrum, Engadget, IGN, Gizmodo, Popular Science,Slash Gear