The main goal of ExoBot is to assist with the use of NASA's Robonaut and other robotic assistants either already in place or in development.Through implementation of sleeves with imbedded sensors, voice commands, and a virtual reality video display, astronauts and technicians alike will be able to safely correct situations that could result in loss of crew, loss of mission, or loss of vehicle.

This project is solving the Space Wearables: Designing for Today’s Launch & Research Stars challenge.

 The ExoBot project aims to make space and ground operations safer through the use of remote control of NASA robots such as Robonaut. Robots are extremely capable with regards to repetitive tasks and precise movement, but they are not critical thinkers and problem solvers. In that area, humans may never be surpassed. Remote control allows the robot to benefit from the problem solving skills and ability to process complex tasks that humans have while still performing jobs with precise movements and control. 
 To achieve precise movement and control, a reliable method of tracking human motion is needed. To simplify things for Space Apps, the focus of this project will be on simulating a single joint. Once one joint is complete, a solid foundation for the rest of a control layout has been created. To track motion, the accelerometer and gyroscope from a smartphone are being used. An app was written for Android devices that tracks and sends the accelerometer and gyroscope data to a server based storage system. Data upload to a server allows for storage, analysis, and user to robot communication proxy.
 In the future, the ExoBot project will allow the human to see what the robot does through the use of a virtual reality headset. This will provide the most realistic views for the human, as it will allow for realistic depth perception. As well, the user will be able to switch to other cameras on the robot for different and more local views. The main control interface will be through gloves and sleeves that allow the entire motions of the human’s arms to be tracked. For robots that have more physical capabilities than humans, such as the ability to rotate a wrist joint 360 degrees, voice commands in tandem with motion will be used to control the robot. This allows for the control of many types of robots without losing much of the fluidity from having a motion controlled interface. 
 If implemented, the ExoBot project can make working in space, around launch vehicles, and in other hazardous areas safer and more efficient. To achieve this, the control system needs to join the best characteristics of humans and robots together. This is why virtual reality, motion tracking, and voice commands will be implemented. ExoBot is technology that can be expanded beyond the space industry. A robot can be placed and operate anywhere a human’s safety can be compromised. ExoBot will help make everyone safer and more productive- the decision doesn’t have to be a trade-off.

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License: MIT license (MIT)