RF & Microwave Technology
Handshake is First-Ever Demonstration of Force-Feedback with Space
ESA performed the first-ever demonstration of space-to-ground remote control with force feedback and live video on June 3, 2015, as NASA astronaut Terry Virts orbiting Earth on the International Space Station shook hands with ESA telerobotics specialist André Schiele in the Netherlands. Terry was testing a joystick that allows astronauts in space to 'feel' objects from hundreds of miles away. The joystick is a twin of the one on Earth and moving either makes its copy move in the same way. The joystick provides feedback so both users can feel the force of the other pushing or pulling. An hour was devoted to the test, and the success verified the communications network, the control technology, and the software behind the connection. One day, astronauts orbiting Mars might use evolved versions of this system to control rovers on the ground to perform human-like tasks on the surface - without being there.