Journal article Open Access
Teleoperation permits to control robots from a safe distance while performing tasks in a remote environment. Kinematic differences between the input device and the remotely controlled manipulator or the existence of redundancy in the remote robot may pose challenges in moving intuitively the remote robot as desired by the human operator. Motivated by the above challenges, this work introduces TelePhysicalOperation, a novel teloperation concept, which relies on a virtual physical interaction interface between the human operator and the remote robot in a manner that is equivalent to a “Marionette” based interaction interface. With the proposed approach, the user can virtually “interact” with the remote robot, through the application of virtual forces, which are generated by the operator tracking system and can be then selectively applied to any body part of the remote robot along its kinematic chain. This leads to the remote robot generating motions that comply with the applied virtual forces, thanks to the underlying control architecture. The proposed method permits to command the robot from a distance by exploring the intuitiveness of the “Marionette” based physical interaction with the robot in a virtual/remote manner. The details of the proposed approach are introduced and its effectiveness is demonstrated through a number of experimental trials executed on the CENTAURO, a hybrid leg-wheel platform with an anthropomorphic upper body.