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iCub3 ‘Feeling’ robot aims for the metaverse
The Italian Institute of Technology’s humanoid robot, iCub3, can help people touch and feel from a distance. The new system was first tested at La Biennale di Venezia at the end of last year. When a demonstration was conducted involving a human operator based at IIT, Genova and the robot and a guide in Venice. The two sites are 300 km apart and communication is based on a basic fiber optic connection. Researchers demonstrated that the iCub3 supports the remote operator’s movements, voice, and facial expressions while receiving visual, auditory, haptic, and tactile feedback. The user has a headset that tracks the user’s expressions, eyelids and eye movements. These head features are projected onto the avatar – giving iCub3 facial expressions very similar to the person using it. When the guide hugged the avatar in Venice, the operator in Genoa feels the hug through the iFeel suit. The robot could help people share memories and emotions from the other side of the world. Daniele Pucci, head of artificial and mechanical intelligence at IIT, also sees iCub as having a future in the virtual reality social network recently launched by Metaverse Mark Zuckerberg. “What I also see in our near future is the application of this system to the so-called metaverse, which is actually based on immersive and distant human avatars,” he explains.