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Robotics NASA

NASA Selects Universities To Develop Humanoid Robot Astronauts (examiner.com) 21

MarkWhittington writes: NASA announced that it is sending copies of its R5 Valkyrie humanoid robot to two universities for software upgrades and other research and development. The effort is part of a continuing project to develop cybernetic astronauts that will assist human astronauts in exploring other worlds. The idea is that robot astronauts would initially scout potentially hazardous environments, say on Mars, and then actively collaborate with their human counterparts in exploration. NASA is paying each university chosen $250,000 per year for two years to perform the R&D. The university researchers will have access to NASA expertise and facilities to perform the upgrades. Spoiler alert: the robots are both going to Greater Boston, to teams at MIT and Northeastern University respectively.
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NASA Selects Universities To Develop Humanoid Robot Astronauts

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  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @04:04PM (#50964971)

    And it's still on the front page

    MIT Helping NASA Build Valkyrie Robots For Space Missions [slashdot.org]

    More proof that the "you are all cows" guy is referring to the editors

  • http://www.theonion.com/americanvoices/nasa-gives-robots-universities-aid-mars-mission-51868 [theonion.com]

    “Once Valkyrie gets that first taste of Comparative Media Studies 100, Mars will be the last thing on its mind.”

  • Oh my eff8ng god. Stop wi5h the humanoid stuff please.

    Make the multi-swish-armed squiddies from Matrix, which will be much more useful and capable of movement than these stupid, oaflike, ponderous mechanical apes (of apes).

  • This dovetails on an idea I've wondered about...how good are the rovers from Apollo 15 16 and 17? Maybe the killer app for this humanoid is to land her by the 70s vintage cars we left there with some spare rechargeable batteries, a set of tools and a portable solar array. Have Valkyrie fire up the juice on the drive train and then set off with the goal to make tracks across the entire lunar equator. I guess the question is, did we leave the keys in the ignition?

    • They'd have to program the robot to drive a manual gearbox first. Robots these days would be utterly lost without a familiar prundle stick to put into 'D'
  • Come on, article writer, if you're going to give something named "Valkyrie" a gendered pronoun, maybe "he" isn't the right choice.

  • Ok, I get the robot part. Makes enough sense to me and doesn't require explanation. But why humanoid? So the astronauts will have an illusion of more humans to interact with? Because they want the robot to perform tasks on machines that are only capable of accommodating the human form? Because it makes better PR than a more outlandish but perhaps more sensible quadruped approach? Some sort of official response to that question seems like it would have been a no-brainer for the articles.
    • Re:Why humanoid? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @05:11PM (#50965507) Homepage

      Forget quadruped, what exactly do legs bring to the equation? Humans use tons of robots to do a vast range of industrial tasks, but they're not legged - if they need to be able to move freely, they're on wheels or tracks. And their bodies are generally just one or more big arms with various gripping or tool elements as "fingers".

      Why legs? So it can fall over?

      • Why not just send Big Dog? That thing looked like it could run across all Mars and over any terrain without a problem.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because being able to step over eight inch high rocks is a Feature in an exploratory robot.

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