In September 2021, ANA Avatar XPRIZE Semifinalist teams brought their avatar systems to Semifinals Testing in Miami, Florida, to be evaluated by the competition Judging Panel. 37 teams from 15 countries were selected to advance as Verified Semifinalists. You can read more about the Competing Teams on XPRIZE site.
The avatar systems that the competing teams are developing must demonstrate the ability to execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios. But the creation of avatars isn’t just about building the next generation of dexterous, task-completing robots. It is also about conveying a sense of human presence for both the operator and the recipient in those interactions. Combining the physical interaction of a robotic avatar with a true sense of presence for a remote participant will serve to extend the limits of human connection.
Up to 20 of the top-performing teams at Semifinals will share a milestone prize purse of $2M and move on to Finals Testing in Fall 2022 for their chance to win part of the $8M Finals prize purse.
Here are videos that some of the teams have made publicly available (alphabetical order):
Team AVATRINA is a collaboration between University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Duke University, and VRotors Inc to build a robotic avatar for the ANA Avatar XPRIZE challenge. Named TRINA (Tele-Robotic Intelligent Nursing Assistant), our telepresence platform provides communication, mobility, manipulation, and sensing for nursing, in-home care, tourism, and maintenance applications.
The Tactile Telerobot is a first-of-its-kind system, developed by an international engineering team with expertise in multiple engineering disciplines. The system integrates three primary products, each the leaders in their categories: Dexterous Robotic Hands from Shadow Robot Company, Advanced Tactile Sensors from SynTouch, and Haptic Gloves from HaptX.
Cyberselves began life as an AHRC-funded research project at the University of Sheffield (and including partners in Oxford and Barcelona), at the intersection of psychology, computer science, cultural studies, and philosophy, looking at what happens to human beings as we increasingly find ourselves engaging in immersive, digital cultures and environments, including everything from social media to virtual reality spaces
To advance to the Semifinals, Dragon Tree Labs designed Avatar Johnny that met all the competition criteria. By now, Dragon Tree Labs is the only Russian team moving forward in the Competition to win the Final Prize.
H2L from Japan uses FirstVR and UnlimitedHand, a wearable device that can be wrapped around the arm, as an interface for robot control.
The core enabling technology for the Human Fusions Avatar connection is the NeuroReality Platform. Its architecture is agnostic to the edge device. This Human Fusions Sensa submission is with the specific Stretch robot due to its safety profile and specific marketing to interact with humans in the environment. Similarly, the Operator interface utilizes off-the-shelf VR hardware when possible with real touch sensation provided by neural stimulation described above. The unique strengths of our team are our neural approach to haptic feedback to provide an embodied experience of the Avatar and this NeuroReality Platform. It is very important to note that the NeuroReality Platform and Operator interfaces can work with many different robot systems, and we are available for partnering with other teams. By example, after being provided with the NeuroReality Platform, the UCLA members of our team were able to implement the Framework for cross-continental connection in about a day. We have further established nodes with other robot systems in Cleveland, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; and College Station, TX. Our vision is that any human interface will eventually be able to connect with any robotic system through our NeuroReality Platform.
Our team is a combination of universities, an applied research organization and high-tech industry. The University of Twente and ETH have the state-of-the-art knowledge base, TNO integrates fundamental knowledge and industry interests towards working demonstrators, and our industry partners Sensiks, Halodi and Haption achieve high technology readiness levels.
We are a research lab working on Humanoid Robotics. Our mission is to give humanoid robots the ability to help and collaborate with humans in dangerous and industrial environments. For this, we research on:
- Telexistence: control and teleoperation systems for humanoid robots
- Human-Robot Collaboration: technology for cobots and Industry 4.0
- Aerial Humanoid Robotics: towards flying humanoid robots
The lab is part of the Computer Science Institute VI – Intelligent Systems and Robotics, which is headed by Prof. Dr. Sven Behnke.
Reachy is the first solution available on the market to offer remote teleoperation of a humanoid robot, using virtual reality.
The goal of the Roboy project is to advance humanoid robotics to the state where its robots are just as good as a human body.
The Sant’Anna team will be based on the expertise in robotics of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, that according to the THE university ranking is the first university in Italy. Sant’Anna has a long outstanding tradition in robotics, from biorobotics to advanced robotic applications.
Team SNU consists of five robotics laboratories in Seoul National University and an international partner from NJIT. Each group has a key expertise to develop the avatar robot system.
TELEXISTENCE Inc. aims to be the systematic innovator of scale in robotics. Innovator means new stuff. And scale means big, systematic ways of looking things done in a way that’s reproducible.
We make an electronic skin called eDermis.
It’s robust, thinner than human skin, and can be wrapped around any surface, hard or soft alike. We use quantum tunnelling to make it truly biomimetic, sensing pressure and its location instead of force alone, enabling robots to roll pens, feel texture, and sense pain like a human would.