Because using your real-life hand is just far too simple and inexpensive, Taylor Veltrop managed to hack together an XBox Kinect, Wii, head-mounted video goggles, a little treadmill and a $16,000 robot to remotely groom a cat. Wow, the cat looks thrilled about it too.
In Veltrop's setup, the HMD provides him with the robot's viewpoint and also controls the Nao's head and neck--whichever way the operator turns his head, the robot moves in kind. Wiimotes are used to control each hand, while the rest of the robot's bodily movements are generated by cues picked up by the Kinect. So when Veltrop walks forward on a treadmill, the robot begins walking forward. If he turns sideways the robot rotates itself in place.
Cat grooming aside, the implications of this tele-presence avatar technology actually sound pretty promising. Namely in the realm of adult entertainment. That's right, folks -- virtual avatar sex. *puts on virtual reality goggles, slams peener in desk drawer* "...Why'd you do that?" I don't know but I'm regretting it.
Hit the jump for the robotic avatar tele-presence cat grooming or whatever the f*** it is in action.
Thanks to Brian and Philip, who groom their cats the old fashioned way: watching them lick themselves. You gotta yell at them if they go for their b-hole though!