A backpack developed by Japanese researchers aims to give you more hands help you carry out tasks you need more than a pair for.
For example, if that flat pack bookshelf construction isn’t working, it’ll hold a part in place for you, while you fumble around with the screws.
The Fusion backpack has a head and two arms that are controlled using an Oculus Rift headset and motion trackers.
But it’s not just a robotic backpack that will work of its own accord – it’s actually powered by another person – say a friend or family member who you need to enlist the help of at the drop of a hat.
They just need an Oculus Rift headset too and you can collaborate on that tricky task of flatpack furniture construction.
Yamen Saraiji, a researcher at Keio University who worked alongside Tokyo University on the project explained it’s another person that can help you by extending your body.
The backpack’s ‘head’ contains a camera that means whoever is helping you can see what you’re doing as if they’re standing behind you.
The arms can be configured in different ways according to how the user needs them. They can move freely, be controlled by the user or attached to the user’s wrists so they can be controlled by the friend or family member, for example.
This could give the robot much more functionality for different scenarios. For example, it means the user could be controlled by an expert to show them how to fix something or do something new such as “how to operate certain instruments or to assist them remotely without the need of their physical presence,” Saraiji told The Verge.
It could also help with rehabilitation of the arms, with exercises sent to the user to help get their muscles working again.