What I’m fastened into is the very-early version of CHARLIE – Cybernetic Harness And Robotic Life Improving Exoskeleton – which we’ll be refining into the non-biological core of PETER 2.0. For now, we’ve taken off various screens and things we prototyped in November 2018, so at the moment CHARLIE is little more than a top-end wheelchair.
However, I’ve already almost lost control of the last fingers of my last working hand. So, realistically, within the next few months I’ll no longer be able to control CHARLIE’s every action via a joystick. I need CHARLIE to take on far greater responsibility. But, exactly as with the previous three streams, the very-low bandwidth of my eye-tracking input system will be my weakest link so I need CHARLIE to demonstrate a huge degree of autonomy in getting me from point to point – just as my legs and whole body used to. Robotic Mobility is in reality an AI challenge on wheels.
For example, I envision that when I’m outside my house onboard my Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, I use my eyes to click on an icon for ‘Bedroom’ and that’s it – everything else is automatic until I’m safely by my bed having got off the WAV, gone through the front door, up in the lift, and through into my bedroom.
Likewise, even in unfamiliar territory, I should be able to travel fast-but-safely thanks to a sophisticated collision avoidance system. I envision being able to speed through an obstacle course or safely make my way through a showroom of porcelain vases.
But that’s the obvious stuff.
Instead, let’s explore the overlap of this stream with the last. Now, I’m speeding through the obstacle course and china shop with a VR visor obscuring my eyes. And what I’m seeing is Enhanced Reality – my Intelligence Amplifier at full pelt.
On another occasion, I’m using the same system to teleport into a real-word meeting (not a VR meeting as before) and I’m occupying a remote telepresence robot. On yet another occasion, I’ve teleported into a drone flying across Torquay harbour, looking down at myself from my extra-terrestrial body.
Yet again, CHARLIE is making his way through my house as before, but I am in bed – experiencing through VR what I would if I were sitting in CHARLIE.
Keep doing things like that, and it’s going to change my perception of what ‘Reality’ really is.