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A robotic engineer, Yamen Saraiji, has developed a pair of robotic arms that can be worn like a backpack and controlled using virtual reality controllers.

The robotic arms are equipped with two cameras, attached to the top of the backpack. A remote user can see what the person wearing the backpack is seeing via anOculus Rift VR headset. The remote user is also able to wield handheld controllers to direct the non-human arms and connected hands.

Saraiji is an assistant professor at the Tokyo-based Keio University’s graduate school of Media Design and led the development of the project, called Fusion. Fusion is to explore how people may be able to work together to control or augment, one person’s body.

Using different buttons on the Oculus Rift controllers enables different finger functions. The operator can move the various fingers on the robotic hand simultaneously, as well as hugging, high-fiving and giving the occasional neck rub. The robotic arms can be used to pick things up too. 

Alternatively, the mechanical hands can be removed and replaced with straps that go around the wrists of the person wearing the backpack to give the remote user full control of their arms.

The robotic arms have seven joints each, which extends from the backpack-like device, and also features two cameras which communicate a live feed to the remote user. The robotic head uses sensors to track the motion of the operators head and moves accordingly. The entire system weighs nearly 21 pounds and is powered by a battery that can last approximately 1.5 hours.

Saraiji has previously built a wearable set of arms and hands which is called Metal Limbs (and can be seen in the video below), he has also led other projects similar to this. The Metal Limbs are controlled with users' feet and the device will be shown off at the Siggraph Computer Graphics and Tech Interaction Conference in Vancouver in August.

The video of Yamen Saraiji's latest work can be viewed on " target="_blank">www.vimeo.com

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