Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a robot which they plan to land on the Moon to act as eyes for Earth-bound space enthusiasts.
The robot is being entered into Google’s Lunar XPRIZE. The contest awards $30M to the first team who can land a robot on the moon, drive it more than 500 meters, and send HD video back to Earth. But rather than just send video, they hope to provide a live feed from the robot to VR headsets on earth.
“The vision was simple - let anyone on Earth experience the Moon live through the eyes of a robot,” explained team leader Daniel Shafrir.
“We weren’t just going to go to the Moon. We are going to bring the Moon back,” he added.
The telepresence robot, nicknamed Andy after university founder Andrew Carnegie, can be controlled by an operator’s head.
Using an Oculus Rift headset, the movements of the user’s head are tracked and sent back to Andy’s camera so that it will match where the user is looking.
“Imagine the feeling of looking out and seeing rocks and craters billions of years old. Turn your head to the right and you see the dark expanse of space. Turn your head to the left and you see home, Earth,” said Mr Shafrir.
Totally awesome. I want to get an Oculus Rift so badly.