Exploring and monitoring oceanic resources has remained expensive and challenging because it requires human divers who can only explore underwater environments during short periods of time and within limited depths. While underwater vehicles have proven to be very useful for safely exploring oceans at greater depths, they lack human dexterity. To improve the accessibility and manipulation of underwater environments, we are in the process of completing a semi-autonomous underwater robotic explorer. Our solution involves a remote tele-operation interface located on the ship that connects to the underwater robot. The interface comprises a 3D vision system for visual feedback and two high bandwidth haptic devices for force feedback and navigation control. The humanoid robot diver combines a thruster-actuated vehicle with two high performance arms and compliant hands with tactile sensing. Our robot combines human-centered robotics and interactive haptic simulation, and extends the limits of research and engineering in the following areas: mobile manipulation, underwater robotics, human motion modeling, haptic interaction, haptically augmented tele-operation, and human-friendly robot design. We envision that in the near future, we will be able to utilize different robots with the same tele-operation framework for different tasks. This project is in collaboration with PI Salama from CEMSE and PI Khatib from Artificial Intelligence Department at Stanford University under an AEA3 Collaborative Research Grant.
Prof. Oussama Khatib, Stanford University, USA
Prof. Mark Cutskosky, Stanford University, USA
Prof. Khaled Salama, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
Prof. Xabier Irigoyen, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
Currently involved from our lab
Prof. Christian R. Voolstra