Boston Dynamics regularly impresses Internet users with their presentations of new features brought to their robots. If the advent of machines is still far away, we can still see them dance, jump and carry fragile objects with disconcerting ease. In June 2023, Hyundai finalized the purchase of the lab for an impressive $ 1 billion. And if the reasons for this purchase were until then obscure, they are clarified with this announcement made at CES 2023.
Metamobility is the car manufacturer’s project to create a world where robots are the link between the physical world and the virtual space of the metaverse. They would serve as a “double digital” and would allow us to see, hear and interact with an environment several thousand kilometers away.. Hyundai Group President Chang Song puts it this way:
By connecting the robots to the metaverse, we will be able to move freely between the real world and virtual reality. To go further in immersion, we will offer a “proxy” experience where robots will be an extension of our own physical senses, thus allowing us to reinvent and enrich our daily life.
If properly applied, the idea will create completely new experiences. You could take control of a robot in Miami by being in Paris to enjoy a concert, and then use another in Tokyo to witness the cherry blossom season. And all without leaving your home, but still enjoying the immersion offered by the Metaverse.
Of course, the application of such an innovation would also be useful on the research side. Especially in space exploration, where we can imagine the use of robots to recreate human behavior in an unusual setting, that of Mars for example. In a presentation clip, Hyundai illustrates the concept through humans exploring the red planet, aided by a robot. The latter has a host of sensors to faithfully transmit and restore as much information as possible. Thus, research would be less dangerous with humans not having to physically go there, while being much less expensive.
And even on the side of our dear blue planet, the uses could be multiple and improve many dailies. Whether for risky jobs that require human expertise or the exploration of dangerous places (Chernobyl for example), the use of robots controlled by humans offer revolutionary possibilities.
Of course, the use of the conditional is not innocent. Metamobility is still in its infancy. It remains difficult to know at present whether we will be able to take advantage of it in the near future. But technically speaking, everything seems to bring us closer to the moment when the project will be reality.