Computer sciences and mathematics

Supporting Cross-reality Robotic Interactive Using VR/AR

Jihad Alkenani
ENIB and UniSA

Research Areas

Computer Science, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Robotic, Human-Computer interaction

Project Brief

At present, robots are developed and trained using either physical robots in the real world or virtual robots in simulated environments. Each approach has its own set of advantages and limitations. While real robots allow for user interaction, they can be time-consuming and unsafe when testing complex algorithms. On the other hand, virtual simulations expedite development and provide a safe environment, but they lack natural user interaction and may not accurately replicate real-world sensors and effectors.

To overcome these challenges, researchers are exploring mixed realities as a means of combining the best aspects of both real and virtual worlds. Immersive systems such as head-mounted displays (HMD) and CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) enable users not only to visualize but also to interact with both real and virtual robots. Ensuring synchronization between the actions performed in the real and virtual environments is crucial. This ensures that the movements executed by the real robot are replicated in the virtual environment, and vice versa.

The primary objective of this project is to facilitate the development of robotics in both real and virtual environments by creating a realistic and immersive setting. To achieve this, the doctoral candidate will leverage cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. The simulation of autonomous robots in the virtual world will involve advanced 3D renderings and the utilization of sophisticated physics engines such as 3DUnity. Additionally, the candidate will employ standard robotic programming environments like ROS (Robot Operating System).

Through a collaboration between two esteemed institutions, Brest National School of Engineering and University of South Australia and the Naval Group Pacific as industrial partner, the research will focus on investigating effective methods for representing elements from virtual and simulated environments in the real world. With the ability to control robots across different realities, the aim is to explore ways in which virtual content that can be digitally perceived by robots but not by human operators can be communicated and manifested in the real world. The outcomes of this research will significantly contribute to the advancement of robotics and enhance the interaction between humans and robots in mixed reality environments.