Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Astronaut feels the force
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 06, 2015

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore operating ESA's Haptics-1 force-feedback in weightlessness aboard the International Space Station on New Year's Eve 2014. By gathering information on physiological factors such as sensitivity of feeling and perception limits, the aim is to gather data guiding the design of future robotic control systems. The Haptics-1 experiment system was designed and built at the Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory at ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Image courtesy ESA.

In a milestone for space robotics, the International Space Station has hosted the first full run of ESA's experiment with a force-reflecting joystick.

Think of the kind of tasks you can do with your hands without looking down, such as typing or tying laces. These are helped by 'force feedback' - the touch you feel in your hands and fingertips.

Harnessing that sensation for robotics would extend the human sense of touch to space or other remote areas, making robotic control much more natural and easy.

Ultimately, robots could work thousands or tens of thousands of kilometres away, yet perform tasks of equal complexity to those a human operator could manage with objects immediately at hand.

NASA crewmember Barry Wilmore operated the force-feedback joystick to gather information on physiological factors such as sensitivity of feeling and perception limits. He finished a first run on New Year's Eve.

The deceptively simple-looking lever is connected to a servomotor that can withstand any force an astronaut operator might unleash on it, while generating forces that the astronaut will feel in turn - just like a standard video gaming joystick as a player encounters an in-game obstacle. The joystick measures such forces at a very high resolution.

To stop the weightless users being pushed around by the force, the 'Haptics-1' experiment can be mounted either to a body harness or be fixed to the Station wall.

"With Haptics-1 we are paving the way towards an entirely new type of combined human-robot mission," explains Andre Schiele, the experimenter and founder of ESA's Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory.

"We are investigating in fine detail the limits of human perception and ability to apply fine forces and manipulation with their limbs and hands in a weightless environment.

"This allows us to understand the technology boundaries for advanced robotic equipment to support human astronauts in space when performing remote robotic control tasks.

"In addition to measuring physiological factors, Haptics-1 is providing important insights into how force-reflection from a remote robotic system changes human perception in space.

"With these measurements, advanced robotic control equipment can be better designed to reflect the realities of human manipulation through a robotic interface in a weightless environment."

"Haptics-1 marks the first time a force-reflecting device has been used in space. Before today, ESA, NASA or any other spacefaring nation has gained such experience in this domain."

In future, orbiting astronauts might be operating a rover in real time on a planet, allowing human dexterity and intuition to help explore an alien environment without the expense and danger of landing.

Such advanced robotic remote control also has many potential terrestrial applications working at sites that are inaccessible or dangerous to humans, such as deep under water or within contaminated zones.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
ESA Space Engineering and Technology
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Student Scientists Persevere, Ready to Launch Experiments to Space Station
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 06, 2015
Students will look to the skies this week when SpaceX's fifth commercial resupply services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station lifts off at 6:20 a.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 6, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will carry scientific research conceived and designed by students who are learning first-hand what it takes to conduct research in space. ... read more

Chinese spacecraft to return to moon's orbit

Russian Company Proposes to Build Lunar Base

'Shooting the Moon' with Satellite Laser Ranging

Moon Express testing compact lunar lander at Kennedy

Russian space medic who led Mars experiment dies at 64

Inflatable 'Donut' to Bring Astronauts to Mars

New analyses suggests water binds to sulfates in Martian soil

Isro's Mangalyaan Completes 100 Days in Mars Orbit

Global tech spending sputters amid economic woes

Electronics show a window into the 'Internet of Me'

NASA exploring inflatable spacecraft designs for future Mars missions

NASA Statement on GAO Decision to Deny Commercial Crew Contract Protest

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

Countdown to China's new space programs begins

China develops new rocket for manned moon mission: media

Astronaut feels the force

Student Scientists Persevere, Ready to Launch Experiments to Space Station

ISS Crew to Raise Toasts for New Year's Eve 16 Times

The worst trip around the world

SpaceX aborts launch of Falcon 9 on landmark rocket test

Arianespace confident current and future launcher family will meet needs

Rocket glitch forces SpaceX to abort landmark launch

Elon Musk divorces actress wife Talulah Riley

Eight new planets found in 'Goldilocks' zone

Gemini Planet Imager produces stunning observations in its first year

Volunteer 'Disk Detectives' Classify Possible Planetary Habitats

Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery

Electromagnetic waves linked to particle fallout in Earth's atmosphere

A repulsive material

Freshmen-level chemistry solves the solubility mystery of graphene oxide films

South Korean Satellite Faces Collision With Space Junk: Reports

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.