NASA Robonaut

NASA has been developing a robotic device that can function as an avatar for an astronaut, offering extravehicular telerobotic and telepresence capability. The astronaut will be able to operate the robot from inside the space station and perform “human-like” tasks using the robots hands and arms and sensors. The robonaut will be able to perform many tasks more efficiently and with more dexterity than a human in a pressure suit.

NASA to launch R2 to join Space Station Crew – [nasa.gov]

NASA will launch the first human-like robot to space later this year to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station. Robonaut 2, or R2, was developed jointly by NASA and General Motors under a cooperative agreement to develop a robotic assistant that can work alongside humans, whether they are astronauts in space or workers at GM manufacturing plants on Earth.

The 300-pound R2 consists of a head and a torso with two arms and two hands. R2 will launch on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission planned for September. Once aboard the station, engineers will monitor how the robot operates in weightlessness. Throughout its first decade in orbit, the space station has served as a test bed for human and robotic teamwork for construction, maintenance and science.

NASA to launch R2 to join Space Station Crew – [youtube.com]

Avatars In Space – [spacedaily.com]

Robonaut is a collaboration between the Robot Systems Technology Branch at the NASA Johnson Space Center and the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to build a robotic ‘astronaut equivalent’. Robonaut even looks a bit human, with an upper torso, two arms and a head – all controlled by a human operator through telerobotic technologies. Robonaut was designed with the concept of creating a robot for tasks that ‘were not specifically designed for robots.’

In order for the Robonaut to complete these ‘human-like’ tasks, it is equipped with hands that are actually more dexterous than those of an astronaut in a pressurized spacesuit.

NASA Robonaut Humanoid Space Robot – [youtube.com]

This is a clip from Doing the Dirty Work: Robots for Hire documenting the NASA Robonaut. The robot is an extravehicular telepresence astronaut designed to use human tools to assist in space duties such as repairs, upgrades, and emergency activity. Its hand is the most dexterous human-like robot hand to-date and can perform many delicate tasks similar to what a person can do. Its eyes are binocular and enable depth-perception just like human eyes. Far future applications include robotic space exploration.

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