No matter what anyone says, machines will never fully replace humans in the food chain. Having a human supervisor on hand beats out a cold, robotic heart any day.
The guys at Sarcos Robotics aren’t trying to make manual labor obsolete. In fact, their newest creation requires a human helping hand.
The Guardian GT is a remote human-controlled, force-multiplying robot with two seven-foot humanoid arms on a treaded base. Remember those hulking robots the humans used to fight the machines in the last Matrix movie? It’s a bit like that, but with a much less violent design.
While the human operator stands comfy in a control harness, the Guardian GT can manipulate heavy objects and go through hazardous terrain. Cameras are propped-up where the robot’s eyes would generally be, giving the operator a clear view through a set of projected glasses.
The huge, three-fingered arms come in handy whenever something four feet in front of the robot needs manipulating. Unlike traditional robot arms, these are custom-made so the distance between the limbs (such as the arm to the elbow and the elbow to the wrist) have the same ratio as a normal human body. This makes it more dexterous and easier for new operators to work with.
Each arm can lift up to 500 pounds and features a force feedback mechanic which adds weight to the operator’s arms. The weight felt isn’t as much as 500 pounds (that would just be nuts), but it helps simulate the stress the robot is going through. From the heaviest debris to the push of a button, each bit of pressure is simulated by the control harness.
As for the base, it is modified to run at four miles per hour on diesel gas. It won’t win any racing competitions, but it’s more than enough to go through rough terrain.
The applications for this robot seem endless. While its general use is for construction, rescue operations requiring higher human judgment and tasks involving hazardous substances (such as those filled with radiation) can also benefit from the Guardian GT.
We’re still a ways from embracing robot overlords, but if the Guardian GT is any indication, the future might see robots and humans codependent on one another. You can find more information on this man-powered beast on the Sarcos Robotics website.