We tested Helo, a remote controlled telepresence robot

Did you ever imagine being able to be with your child, even remotely, during a business trip? Or if you were absent from a major event at your company and could receive guests straight from your home? This is the purpose of Helo, a telepresence robot that can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world and promises to be a new ally in the most modern personal and professional life. The idea is that it will replace you at times when you are not available. Crazy, huh?

The robot works as follows: you connect to an internet page, enter your login and password, and have the machine’s command buttons on hand. Together with this site, you connect to the robot’s Skype or Google Hangout (Google+ video conferencing service) to bring it to life. Thus, the robot gains a face (a tablet built into Helo’s head) and you are able to see through the tablet’s camera positioned on the machine’s head. On the other side of the screen, the robot can walk and move “the neck” through the commands accessed by the user on the Helo page. That is, as if you were on the spot, however, remotely.

“The robot works with a 12V battery and can be connected to a wall outlet whenever it is not in use. We are also developing a self-charging system, in which it can charge itself when the battery is low”, explains the creator of the rob, Dan Barry.

Dan is a former NASA astronaut, a veteran of three space flights and a professor in the Executive Program of the FIAP, which has a partnership with Singularity University. He retired from the space agency in 2005 and decided to run after a dream: he started a robotics company, together with Zhengqin “James” Fan, and started creating prototypes of machines for home and commercial use, in addition to robots that do assistance for people. with disabilities.

“We aim to provide a perfect experience for our users, allowing them to interact remotely as if they were there in person. We are also trying to extend people’s natural senses and abilities so that they can integrate with a robot, who can have the same capacity physical and sensory of a human. In addition, we are trying to educate artificial intelligence so that the machines better understand human behavior “, explains the ex-astronaut.

According to Dan, they want a person’s location to not hinder their access to new knowledge or experiences. However, the idea is that robots take the place of human beings, but that they help in the limitations caused by distance and open doors to new opportunities for humanity.

Helo has been in development for 11 months and, in the first three months, several prototypes have been developed that have improved and become the current robot. Now, according to James, they have added features to the equipment and refined the control system. The next step, according to the creator, is to add arms to Helo, which can also be controlled via the internet page. With new members, the robot will be able to handle things, which would open the door to new opportunities for use.

The Olhar Digital team tested Helo remotely and the result of this experience can be seen in the video below. The machine still has certain limitations, but it worked very well during the test. The lack of notion of space hindered our performance in the movement of Helo a little, but after some stumbling on the corners of the walls, we were able to get used to the idea of ​​being “present” in the laboratory “robotically”.

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