By Praornpit Katchwattana -May 21, 2021
The emergence of Covid-19 crisis this puts human beings in an unprecedented state: anxiety about going out to live, working or interacting with others for fear of infection. Until this concern turned into a driving force for innovators to invent that what technology will be able to help humans do activities, work, by breaking the limits of the human body during the time of the pandemic crisis and still be able to remain human is to use the skills that one has mastered from asking questions lead to finding answers and finding solutions by applying the design principles of AVATAR robots.
This robot is inspired by the name of the movie AVATAR where the hero is somewhere and then be able to control the body that is in another place. This is not a miracle. But it can actually happen with the cutting-edge robot technology of this era.
‘AVATAR robot’, a remote controlled robot that takes risks instead of humans. What good is it?
Prof.Bowornsak Sagunguagoonsuk,Assistant Director of Student Affairs Institute of Field Robotics (FIBO), KMUTT further explained the working principle of AVATAR robots as:
“The working principle of AVATAR robots is that there is a robot controller as an operator in one place and an AVATAR robot in another. And the operator can control the robot remotely. Whatever the robot sees, the operator sees, whatever the AVATAR hears, the operator hears.”
“This AVATAR robot serves to convey humanity instead of the operator through a robot to another person who is interacting with the robot and work together naturally. The person who interacts with the robot will experience it as if he were actually working with a human being.”
With the performance that is considered to be able to meet the needs of people in this era especially medical personnel that must reduce the risk by keeping distance in performing duties with Covid-19 patients or even general patients to prevent infection, causing the Institute of Field Robotics (FIBO), KMUTT, has packaged research and development projects for remote robotics for human interaction in the Project AI Robotics for All.
The main purpose of this project is to create an understanding and awareness of What is going to play a role in people’s lives in the near future is definitely AI and robots. These two things are not meant to be enemies of humans. But it’s just one tool that humans use to develop their potential, breaking the limit one step further. Therefore, the knowledge and understanding of AI and robotics will allow us to use them more effectively.
Development of this robot There is a 4-year development period (2019-2022), which will encourage students to develop robots with equal capabilities, compete internationally including to open up learning opportunities develop expertise and bringing the reputation and pride of Thailand.
In the beginning of 2020, a team of teachers and students from the Institute of Field Robotics (FIBO), KMUTT made a name through the first round in the ANA Avatar XPRIZE global competition, being the only team in Thailand and in South-east Asia from more than 800 teams registered for the tournament.
The “ANA Avatar XPRIZE” competition is organized by the XPRIZE Foundation. The theme of this competition is ANA Avatar, which is a development of avatar robots that can be operated remotely. It has the ability to sense touches such as sight, hearing, touch, and the robot must be able to safely interact with people able to pick up objects and help the injured.
‘AVATAR robot’ by FIBO researchers is a combination of all advanced technologies. into a single robot
Prof. Bowornsak further explained that the main goal of this research and development project for remote robotics for human interaction is to create an experience as if the operator is actually where the robot is.
“FIBO is ready because it has experience in researching various robot projects. Therefore, we take a small body of knowledge from researchers in various labs to come together to form a System Integration to develop and design the AVATAR System in the style of FIBO.”
“Consist of remote control robot system (Avatar), control system (Operator) and this robot also has a purpose for transportation (Transport) and is designed to be human (Human Presence) to receive commands from the operator or the control station to the place where the robot is Including the controller can recognize and feel the environment in which the robot is. If it is a long distance communication, both sides (operator and the people who’s operator communicating) will be able to feel the experience. It was as if the two parties were actually talking at the same place.”
“This body of knowledge in creating Robotic is a combination of related technologies. and is a technology level State-of-the-art (Cutting-edge technology) or many of the most advanced technologies such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality, Haptic Feedback, 5G, and more.”
“With all these capabilities, AVATAR can be used in a number of cases, for example, instead of working in places where human beings shouldn’t go. In addition, it can create a distribution of opportunities from specialists to places such as specialists can treat patients far away, far as if the doctor was there. or create remote learning where students can learn anything as long as there is AVATAR in different places. The learners will gain hands-on experience. It was as if he was actually going to learning at that place.
“Especially during the epidemic of the COVID-19 virus that makes humans unable to go out and live normally because of the risk of infection causing human beings to have physical limitations. Therefore, if this research project to create a prototype of the AVATAR robot is beneficial to unlock the limitations of the body. During the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus really go all out.”
FIBO extends the concept of remote-controlled robots that take risks instead of humans Build a robot “FIBO AGAINST COVID-19: FACO Fights Covid”
It’s not just FIBO’s progress in building prototypes of efficient AVATAR robots, because since the first wave of outbreaks, FIBO has built a robot “FIBO AGAINST COVID-19: FACO” to help alleviate the burden of doctors and medical personnel, In the care of COVID-19 patients, including reducing direct interactions with patients at risk of transmitting the disease. There are 3 types of robots in the system kit:
CARVER-Cab 2020a, a mobile autonomous robot (Free Navigate), transports food, medicine, medical supplies for patients in wards. Up to 20 food trays can be loaded at one time. With air purification and virus sterilization functions throughout the operation through the Hydroxyl Generator device.
SOFA, a service robot equipped with a display that can display treatment data or examination results linked to the hospital system. The doctor can remotely control the robot from the central control room to move the robot to the target location. There is a thermal camera (Thermal Camera) to capture body temperature. A high-resolution camera that can magnify up to 20 times allows doctors to examine the patient’s external conditions, such as eyes, tongue, from a distance, including being able to chat with patients in a video call.
Service Robot, a robot that delivers medicines and food to a specific point for patients with special needs. It can move to the target location automatically by remote control from the central control room. Patients can speak to the robot to call a doctor or nurse.
All robots are connected through the hospital’s main Wi-Fi system. In the future will bring 5G 2600 MHz technology to enhance the capabilities of the robot. And data transmitted in the cloud with 5G 26-28 GHz , At present, these robots have been deployed to help mitigate risks. Lighten the burden of medical personnel throughout Thailand.