Grasp – Shoulder Mounted Telepresence Robot
Akarsh Sanghi, a student of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design has created as part of his Master’s thesis a shoulder-mounted robot prototype that is able to shoot instructions to students in real time via internet connection to a remote teacher.
Touted as Grasp – the telepresence robot, it is equipped with a webcam, a speaker, a microphone, and a remotely-controlled laser pointer, and is connected through to a tutor or an adviser who can obtain first person point of view and guide each and every action of the user. Designed specifically for the purpose of remote tutelage, Grasp can be utilized by students in medicine, music, art; basically, everything.
The laser pointer, controlled remotely via a screen based joystick, adds uniqueness to the design and allows for the instructor to physically point out important stuff while guiding the user.
Using an Arduino controller, Grasp interacts with the wearer and the instructor in real time via an internet connection.
Akarsh has limited his design to a wearable with no mechanical limbs, unlike some other telepresence robot prototypes. His idea is to provide a link between students and instructors to allow for a first-hand interaction. “The tool provides the mentor with a real time insight into the learner’s environment through the coupling of a first person point of view and an instructional laser pointer… It is the idea of having a companion looking over your shoulder and instructing you while learning something new irrespective of distance,” claims Grasp’s designer and builder.
So far, Akarsh has no plans for making the device available to consumers and it is limited to research work. Let’s hope that changes soon.