robonauts

[Robonaut2 – or R2 for short – is the next generation dexterous robot, developed through a Space Act Agreement by NASA and General Motors. It is faster, more dexterous and more technologically advanced than its predecessors and able to use its hands to do work beyond the scope of previously introduced humanoid robots. Image via NASA]

[Robonaut2 – or R2 for short – is the next generation dexterous robot, developed through a Space Act Agreement by NASA and General Motors. It is faster, more dexterous and more technologically advanced than its predecessors and able to use its hands to do work beyond the scope of previously introduced humanoid robots. Image via NASA]

Just eight months after filing for bankruptcy, General Motors has announced that it will be teaming up with NASA to develop new robots.  The opportunistic joint venture is part of the Space Act Agreement, and aims to build a safe 'humanoid' robot that is able to work alongside humans.  The development of the R2 robonaut - or what is being claimed as the most dexterous robot - is a result of several new technologies including leading edge control and sensor/ vision systems.  To achieve near human dexterity in an envelope of comparable size and shape to human hands and fingers, engineers looked to biomimicry to create tendon-like operators.  The R2 was built to replicate the human form from waist up and take over difficult, dangerous or repetitive tasks while increasing safety.

[ NASA and General Motors have come together to develop the next generation dexterous humanoid robot. The robots – called Robonaut2 – were designed to use the same tools as humans, which allows them to work safely side-by-side humans on Earth and in space. Image via NASA]

[ NASA and General Motors have come together to develop the next generation dexterous humanoid robot. The robots – called Robonaut2 – were designed to use the same tools as humans, which allows them to work safely side-by-side humans on Earth and in space. Image via NASA]

[ Robonaut2 surpasses previous dexterous humanoid robots in strength, yet it is safe enough to work side-by-side with humans. It is able to lift, not just hold, this 20-pound weight (about four times heavier than what other dexterous robots can handle) both near and away from its body. Image via NASA]

[ Robonaut2 surpasses previous dexterous humanoid robots in strength, yet it is safe enough to work side-by-side with humans. It is able to lift, not just hold, this 20-pound weight (about four times heavier than what other dexterous robots can handle) both near and away from its body. Image via NASA]

The massive expense of such a development encouraged partnership between what are now two government owned agencies.  While it is still to be decided if the robots will be remotely operated by human control devices or will have autonomously scripted actions, the aim for future robonauts is to be able to work free of human involvement.  The ramifications of such a development are endless - from changing production processes, to soldier robots, future robonauts could even be the first citizens of new planets that plant the first terraforming or geoengineering seeds.  Key to the future development and success of robonauts is how we can effectively reduce the gap between mechanical engineering and biology, or create a systemic symbiosis between the sciences.

Add new comment

BLOG ARCHIVE

2009

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009