Telemanipulation systems consist of a human interacting with a mechanical device on the master side to operate a robot at the remote side. They provide natural opportunities for research in intelligent human/robot collaboration, but existing commercial systems, used in areas such as telesurgery, are not intelligent and therefore only replicate the actions of the human operator. These systems are also proprietary, expensive, and not available for modification by researchers. The goal of this NRI project is to provide an open-source software infrastructure that is designed to work with a broad range of hardware and simulated devices to enable a larger community to pursue research and education in intelligent telemanipulation at a lower cost.

The increasing pace of robotics research can be attributed, at least in part, to the increasing availability of software infrastructure, such as Robot Operating System (ROS), and open hardware platforms. This NRI project focuses on providing a software infrastructure for research in intelligent telemanipulation, leveraging infrastructure developed for the Raven II robot and the da Vinci Research Kit (dVRK) and continuing to extend it to other systems, including simulated robots. The three main tasks are to: (1) engage the community to guide development, (2) develop and implement a common API for the diverse hardware platforms, and (3) provide a set of high-level, platform-independent software modules. The goal is to support research towards semi-autonomous telerobotic systems that can more effectively combine the knowledge, reasoning, and decision-making capabilities of a human with the sensing and manipulation capabilities of a robot.

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Johns Hopkins University
United States
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