Latest Telepresence and Visual Collaboration News:
NASA gives Robonaut 2 legs
NASA's Robonaut 2 (R2) isn't half the robot it used to be. On Monday, the space agency released images and video showing new legs that will be added to the robot assistant currently working aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The currently upper-body-only R2 will receive its new limbs early next year.
The new legs aren't for walking, since R2 is designed to work in a weightless environment. Instead, these are climbing legs that are a bit like what you'd find on a sloth. Built using funds from NASA's Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, the new legs, which contain seven joints each, span 9 ft (3 m) when fully extended. Instead of feet, they sport "end effectors" consisting of a gripper and a camera. This allows the robot to move about and anchor itself, while the video camera allows the operator to verify what the robot is doing and, eventually, let the machine move autonomously.
On the downside, if the aim of R2 was to produce a humanoid robot that would be reassuring for astronauts to work with, then the legs are a bit of a backstep, as they give it the appearance of some Lovecraftian offspring of C3P0 and a giant albino spider monkey.
R2 is a project by the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The idea is to create a humanoid robot that is dexterous, can use standard tools, and work comfortably beside astronauts both inside and outside a spacecraft. It works by telepresence, but it can also work autonomously with only occasional verification.
Add New Comment
Telepresence Options welcomes your comments! You may comment using your name and email (which will not be displayed), or you may connect with your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or DISQUS account.
See what happens when YouTube and TPO come together at the Telepresence Options YouTube Channel.