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The promise of oceanic discovery has intrigued scientists and explorers for centuries, whether to study underwater ecology and climate change, or to uncover natural resources and historic secrets buried deep at archaeological sites. Reaching these depth is imperative since factors such as pollution and deep-sea trawling increasingly threaten ecology and archaeological sites. These needs demand a system deploying human-level expertise at the depths, and yet remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are inadequate for the task. To meet the challenge of dexterous operation at oceanic depths, in collaboration with KAUST Red Sea Research Center and MEKA Robotics, Oussama Khatib and the team developed Ocean One, a bimanual humanoid robot that brings immediate and intuitive haptic interaction to oceanic environments. Introducing Ocean One, the haptic robotic avatarDuring this lecture, Oussama Khatib will talk about how teaming with the French Ministry of Culture Underwater Archaeology Research Department, they deployed Ocean One in an expedition in the Mediterranean to Louis XIV flagship Lune, lying off the coast of Toulon at ninety-one meters. In the spring of 2016, Ocean One became the first robotic avatar to embody a human presence at the seabed. Ocean One journey in the Mediterranean marks a new level of marine exploration: Much as past technological innovations have impacted society, Ocean One ability to distance humans physically from dangerous and unreachable work spaces while connecting their skills, intuition, and experience to the task promises to fundamentally alter remote work. Robotic avatars will search for and acquire materials, support equipment, build infrastructure, and perform disaster prevention and recovery operations - be it deep in oceans and mines, at mountain tops, or in space.
Oussama Khatib is the director of the Robotics Lab at Stanford University. Professor Khatib's work on advanced robotics focuses on methodologies and technologies in human-centered robotics including humanoid control architectures, human motion synthesis, interactive dynamic simulation, haptics, and human- friendly robot design. He is the leader of the team working on OceanOne, a bimanual underwater humanoid robot with haptic feedback that allows human pilots to experience an unprecedented ability to explore the depths of the oceans in high fidelity. It allows humans to dive virtually and to communicate through hand gestures, while putting the human out of harm's way.