NASA Just Gave Two Humanoid Robots to MIT and Northeastern University

Saturday, 21 November 2015 - 12:07PM
Robotics
Mars
Saturday, 21 November 2015 - 12:07PM
NASA Just Gave Two Humanoid Robots to MIT and Northeastern University
Meet the astronaut of the future, Valkyrie I (or R5 as NASA calls it).

NASA just gave one robot each to MIT and Northeastern University (MA) in hopes that they'll be able to improve upon the design and functionality of the robot. They hope to use these bi-pedal, humanoid robots for future space travel missions, performing various tasks in preparation for human exploration among other various other chores.

Here's a brief look at what Valkyrie I can do:



In the video, Nicolaus Radford the project and group leader from NASA's Dexterous Robotics Labs, had this to say about the robot:

Opening quote
We want to get to Mars. Likely, NASA will send robots ahead of the astronauts to the planet. These robots will start preparing the way for the human explorers. And when the humans arrive, the robots and humans will work together in conjunction building habs, laying foundation, and just working together in that tight relationship. And so technologies such as Valkyrie are going to really lead into the type of robotic systems that will one day be the precursor missions before the astronauts go to Mars.
Closing quote


Valkyrie will also come equipped with cameras on its head, arms, chest, and feet so researchers can see exactly what Valkyrie does from all angles. It was designed for optimal practicality, as damaged or malfunctioning parts and limbs can be replaced in less than 15 minutes. Likewise, it seems as though Valkyrie can be controlled by remote operators, but one of the things that MIT and Northeastern are working on doing is instilling in the robot ways of reasoning and making intelligent decisions on its own.

The two universities mentioned previously will be receiving $250,000 a year from NASA in order to improve upon the robot. It's been questioned if human beings will quit exploring the great unknown themselves, but whether that ever happens or not, it's quite possible that Valkyrie and other robots like it are the astronauts of the future, as they help mankind reach further into the depths of the universe.
Science
NASA
Robotics
Mars

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