Everyone has thought of having their robots, or maybe just robotic arms something similar to Dum-E and U from the Iron Man movies. While such robotic arm machinery are used in the industries, they are not meant to be used by an individual. If someone really needs to make one for themselves, they would need expensive parts or kits and the technical skills to put together the robot.

But researchers from the University of Bristol with their invention want to make the process easy. They created a simple and affordable Mantis, one of a kind lightweight system with haptics. Haptic feedback (haptics) is a technology that can simulate a sense of touch. While most computers have interfaces based on audio and visuals, haptics provide a human-computer interface based on a sense of touch.

Bristol HCI@BristolIG

More great work from BIG at #uist2019 – Gareth Barnaby’s Mantis system for scaleable haptics.
Could this be an “Arduino for haptics” – making the technology accessible and affordable to grass-roots researchers? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKu910fe5UQ … YouTube ‎@YouTube84:31 PM – Oct 20, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Bristol HCI’s other Tweets

The researchers, Dr. Anne Roudaut and Ph.D. student Gareth Barnaby are presenting the Mantis at the User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) conference in New Orleans. According to researchers, the cost of building the Mantis is twenty times less expensive than similar robots in the market. The cost of components is very less, compared to the highly accurate equivalents that are used in research labs. Researchers claim that making the Mantis only requires the expertise of a secondary school student, in theory.

The system can work in conjunction with virtual reality to enhance the user’s experience through haptics (sense of touch). If a user was to interact with something in VR, the computer with force feedback can simulate sensation on fingertips giving a physical enhancement to the visual experience. The lead researcher Dr. Roudaut said, “Humans already have a great sense of touch. Mantis expands on this innate ability by enabling people to touch and feel 3-D objects, adding more depth to the VR experience.”

The researchers, to make force feedback devices available across the board, want to make self-build kits and off-the-rack systems that can be obtained online. Ph.D. student Barnaby said, “We will be giving out the plans to allow anyone to build a Mantis.”



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