BOSTON -- At Northeastern University's Institute for Experiential Robotics -- they are working on what they call "tele-existence" -- And they're making astonishing strides.
Professor Taskin Padir and a team of other professors and students have created an avatar system that allows a person to control and feel a robot from any distance.
"Our system is very unique in the sense that it uses hydraulics, meaning every little motion that David performs with his fingers and arms, one-to-one communicated and replicated by the robot," said Padir as one of the students demonstrates the system.
"It takes that information and transmits it to the robot so it can recreate it on that end," said Henry Mayne, one of the students on the team. "So they're two intertwined robots that are working together to make this experience possible."
The technology is impressive enough that Northeastern took home third place -- of an original 600 teams -- at last month's X Prize competition, taking home a $1 million prize.
"We all just jumped up in the air," said Mayne. "It was like mission control. It was insane."
And it is mind-blowing. WBZ's Liam Martin got to climb into the cockpit and was quickly able to control a remote robot using his arms and fingers.
As for advancing to the point of what we see on the big screen with the movie Avatar, this team is confident about the future.
If they had to ballpark the number of years it would take to be into a full suit where you can walk?
"Give us five years, and we'll be almost there," Padir responded. "Imagine any job that is distant, dull, dangerous, and dirty -- this technology can find an application."
for more features.