HERMES may be the future of robotic movement


Hermes is the Greek god, sometimes messenger, sometimes trickster, sometimes patron of something else altogether but usually Hermes was a link between the moral world and the world of the gods in some way. HERMES, the creation of MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, is also a link of sorts, joining the robotic and human worlds together.

Or at least that’s the idea. HERMES is a design idea that would allow a humanoid robot to react and move as though it is human by linking it up to an actual human being. Instantly we’re thinking of remote combat drones or even giant mechanical robot battles with the pilots using a Pacific Rim-style interface based on what MIT’s engineers have cooked up here.

But the actual idea (that they’re admitting to) is to deploy a robot to areas where humans can’t go but still have it under human control, with human-like reflexes. Some of these are on-show, with the robot punching holes in a painting canvas at the behest of its human controller. Yeah, we’re sticking with the giant robot inspiration.

HERMES gets its ease of movement from its human counterpart and the controller also gets feedback from the robot itself, which is transmitted to the control suit. This would allow HERMES to balance more easily, or at least borrow its controller’s sense of balance. So far, HERMES is planned as a human-controlled robot but there are designs on making HERMES more autonomous. Once they get that right, and plant IBM’s Watson in its head, we’re going to be moving somewhere without electricity.

Source: MIT (YouTube)


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