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teleoperation (telerobotics)

Teleoperation, also called telerobotics, is the technical term for the remote control of a robot called a telechir .In a telerobotic system, a human operator controls the movements of a telechir from some distance away. Signals are sent to the telechir to control it; other signals come back, telling the operator that the telechir has followed the instructions. These control and return signals are called telemetry .

Some teleoperated robots have a limited range of functions. A good example is a space probe, such as Voyager, hurtling past some remote planet. Earthbound scientists sent commands to Voyager based on the telemetry received from it, aiming its cameras and resolving minor problems.

In a more sophisticated form of teleoperation known as telepresence , the human operator has a sense of being on location, so that the experience resembles virtual reality (VR). For example, a telechir can be equipped with sensors that detect sensations of vision and sound, and in some cases pressure and texture. These sensations can then be reproduced at the operator location by means of specialized transducer s.

This was last updated in March 2011

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