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NASA Robotics Space Hardware

General Motors' NASA Robot On Tour 72

diGitalRchitect writes "Robonaut 2, a.k.a. R2, described by its creator, General Motors, as the strongest, fastest, most dexterous and most technologically advanced humanoid robot visited GM's Warren Technical Center this morning in anticipation of its 'twin' heading off to the International Space Station later this month."
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General Motors' NASA Robot On Tour

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  • Grammar (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot.spad@co@uk> on Thursday December 09, 2010 @09:06AM (#34499444) Homepage

    One presumes that you meant to say General Motors' (or General Motors's if you prefer) NASA Robot On Tour.

    Unless there's a General Motor who's built a robot for NASA and is current touring, of course.

    • I prefer to believe that we live in a universe that awesome.

    • ... never mind now. Have you just stepped out of a time warp from the 1970s or have you really nothing else to contribute?

      • Care to explain why attempting to uphold high standards of spelling and grammar is "lame"?
        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          Because this isn't a textbook, this is slashdot where things are typed fast and where the information is more important that complaining about trivial details of apostrophes.

          • by 2phar ( 137027 )

            more important than complaining about trivial details like apostrophes.


            • I RTFA,(naive mistake?). Typos are typos; but I find it uncomfortable that GM is withholding those who gave of their time, their moment of recognition. I believe that folks do good things, and should be recognised for it. I know there's a trend to humanise businesses, but businesses represent a group of people, and businesses appear to be above the law when it comes to issues like incarceration []. So I ask myself, "who are the people that did this?"
      • by Spad ( 470073 )

        In this instance the intended meaning was fairly obvious, but that's not always the case.

        Don't give me that "Language evolves" crap either; yes it does, but 90% of the people who say that are simply using it as an excuse to be lazy with their grammar or spelling.

        • im not laz... snore

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          You may be right, but which "correct" spelling should be used on Slashdot then? English, american, scottish, australian, new zealand or only something which people like yourself approve of?

      • by Hallow ( 2706 )

        Heh. Look how high his user number is. He probably wasn't alive 20 years ago. lol.

      • Still good for +4 Informative though. There's at least a contingent around here who love they're correct grammar.

        Further more, that seems to be the only comment on this story that's been upmodded. Wtf people? Do you have nothing to talk about other than apostrophe use?

    • One presumes that you meant to say General Motors' (or General Motors's if you prefer) NASA Robot On Tour.

      So, Robonaut is now credited to General Motors, and Robert Ambrose and the Robonaut []
      group at NASA Johnson Space Center don't even get a shout out anymore?

      Maybe a link to their 2000 IEEE Intelligent Systems article []?

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Unless there's a General Motor who's built a robot for NASA and is current touring, of course.

      Didn't William Shatner play him in Loaded Weapon?

  • That link seems to go to a detroit redwings blog... the word robonaut isn't even on the page. []
  • Fights.
    Terminator stuff.
    Made by the same company that brought us the Chevy Vega...

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Terminator stuff.
      Made by the same company that brought us the Chevy Vega...

      I had a Vega, and surprisingly it wasn't a bad car. But it was a '76, the last year they made them, and they pretty much got the bugs worked out by then. The biggest problem with the earlier models was that the radiator and oil pan was too small.

      The '76 held more oil and water, and there was circuit that shut the car off if the oil pressure dropped too low.

      It was underpowered, though, and didn't get very good gas mileage for a small

      • Then there was the pesky aluminum head that warped destroying the engine if the temperature went about 90 degrees F....

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          That's a bit of an exageration, but it was in fact the reason they gave it a bigger radiator. I drove mine in 100 F weather with no problem, but like I said, it was the last year they manufactured them.

        • Actually it was an aluminum crankcase, and a cast iron head ... the head gaskets would wear out because of the different heat expansion properties between the two metals. The heavy head also made the engine top heavy and so it would rattle around in the engine compartment like Michael J. Fox on cocaine. ~ Also owned one and did not hate it.
    • Fights.

      Match this artificial dude up against ASIMO, and we'd finally have what those Robot Wars TV shows should've been. And that Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game. See kids, robots are useful for more things than just sex, could be the lesson.

      Next we could build a 21st century AD version of the Roman Coliseum, to house and showcase mankind's new pastime. The first bout between these two contenders might initially appear mismatched, with the GM product being prone to falling apart on its own. But being an outdo

      • too expensive... cheaper to give bums $100 to duke it out... the prohibitive cost of these robots make them only good for playing violin and sorting small screws in space
        • We could always bring down the cost to operate them, by merging some of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) project's flesh-eating robot technology into them. Then "Powered by Honda" -> "Powered by bums"!

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          cheaper to give bums $100 to duke it out...

          Robots are FAR cheaper to repair than humans. The cost of repairing a detached retina [] is thousands of dollars.

          And, there are already robot death matches, where engineering teams build robots for the express purpose of an incredibly cool and nerdy game.

  • It would have been nice if just ONCE in the article it stated just exactly what these 'robonauts' will be doing on the ISS.

    For all we know, the 'robonauts' will just stream music while playing an interactive game of Chess with the astronauts - not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • Only 6 phrases and:

    R2’s DNA also could be used to improve robots currently working in manufacturing operations.

    Now I understand why they name it robonaut: the Android, Nexus are some already taken trademarks, R2D2 not being humanoid... not too much of a choice range.

    GM has partnered with NASA since the 1960s, when the auto giant made navigation systems for the Apollo missions. More recently, GM worked on the Lunar Roving Vehicle.

    Whaa... You mean this Lunar Roving Vehicle []? Yes, it ... somehow... is... more recent than 1960, but hey... common... it's still during nineteen-seventy-spring-time.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      I choked on the "DNA" too. Must stand for Does Nearly Anything.

      Yes, it ... somehow... is... more recent than 1960, but hey... common...

      Well, maybe the writer's a geezer. And, uh, moon buggies weren't that common.

    • Well if they start making digital versions of this r2 unit, wait until the 2nd digital unit comes out
  • Robonaut 2, a.k.a. R2, is the younger brother of Destructobot 2, or D2.

  • A big part about being a humanoid is having 2 legs. Not sure how they can claim it as the most advanced humanoid robot when it's only half a humanoid.
    • In space, legs are just a nuisance.
      Appendages used to repel gravity are not of much use in free fall environments.

      • Legs are not just to "repel gravity" as you put it. With some kind of velcro like shoe system legs can be used to propel oneself across a room in zero gravity. Also, if you are holding something in your hands it gives you a method to push off a wall or other object to propel yourself across a room without walking. What kind of robot would you use to "pick up" a 100 kg piece of equipment and transport it across a space habitat? Again, I think you would either need legs or some kind of wheeled system that can

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      I know people without legs. There's a couple of them that work in my building.

      Ever see Forest Gump? Lt. Dan didn't have any legs. R2's simply handicapped, just like somebody who steps on a land mine.

      I bet it doesn't have genitals, either.

  • Another small step towards the inevitable human-robot conflict ("THEY SENT MY BROTHER INTO SPACE!!! THOSE BASTARDS!!!")
  • WTF... GM's working on projects like this... when they were about to go under and had to be bailed out by the government? Un-fucking-believable.

    This kind of project is fine in a *healthy* company that's making enough money to fund itself... but why the hell didn't this get shut down under the bailout terms? How is this project making any money to help pay back the bailout? I always felt the bailout was a bad idea, and now we see crap like this. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the politicians who voted fo

    • by j_sp_r ( 656354 )

      GM hopes the humanoid can one day work on the assembly line (mostly manual labour now). Because it is an humanoid, it can use existing infrastructure for humans and a human can step in if the robot fails, without downtime.

    • Yeah, good point. I could fund fantastically expensive projects if I could borrow huge amounts of money, get $50 billion in free government money, stiff bondholders, and screw pensioners on what I promised them.

      That's where 99% of GM's brilliance lies. Anyone who could play with that much money could probably do something more impressive.

      And have done so: even NASA, with all the bureaucratic stuff they have to put up with, can do a lot more with the same money.

      Fuck GM. Fuck GM long, fuck GM hard.

  • Does it have On Star?

  • Government Motor's NASA Robot On Tour

    There, I fixed that for ya!
  • The Wall Street Journal has a video []. It's pretty creepy the way they have the head turn to "look" at what the robot is doing with its fingers, etc. as if to imply self-awareness.
  • For some reason every time I see this robot I think of a taxi cab on mars. What movie was that anyway?
  • Possible automotive applications include adaptive lane-changing and adaptive cruise

    How does being the "strongest/fastest/most dextrous" humanoid robot assist with such things vs a computer + servo on the automotive controls?

    And wtf does this even mean:

    “It allows us to do work and do it safely.side by side with astronauts or with workers here on Earth,”

    TFA is confusing and very poorly written. It touts one thing, but then hints at completely different things.


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