Search results for: robonaut

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Sci-Fi In Real Life: Droid Astronaut Robonaut 2 Awake And Tweeting Aboard ISS

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This is the age we live in. We’ve successfully put a cybernetic droid in space to help with missions at the ISS and possibly go on space walks, and the first thing we do is give him a Twitter account. Yesterday, after waiting since February to be powered up, Robonaut 2 has booted and aptly tweeted, “Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind.” At least he’s got a sense of humor, or rather the engineers tweeting for him do.

The bot, also referred to as R2 for not only its name but also it’s blatantly obvious nerd cred implications, won’t be fully juiced until next week on September 1st when the ISS crew will start the robot moving it’s appendages and working with the rest of the team. According to Space.com, vigorous tests are being run to ensure that R2 is safe to operate and will remain stable during tasks.

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ISS Astronauts Tip Their Hats To Hitchhiker’s Guide With New Mission Poster

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Unless you’re a die-hard NASA junkie, you might not know about the space agency’s tradition of getting a bit silly when it comes to the posters for their missions to the International Space Station. After all, astronauts are real-life heroes, so why not put that in perspective by letting them stand in for some fictional versions? So what movie would get the nod for ISS Expedition 42? Don’t panic — they’ve already got the perfect idea.

HHGG

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SpaceX Sends Microbes And A Space Farm To The ISS

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UPDATE: A helium leak nixed plans for today’s launch. It has tentatively been rescheduled for 12:25PM PT/3:25 PM ET on Friday, April 18.

dragon capsuleThis afternoon, SpaceX plans to launch an unmanned Dragon capsule on a cargo run to the ISS. The launch is scheduled for 4:58 pm, and you can watch live here. This isn’t the first time SpaceX has made a cargo run for the ISS, and it certainly won’t be the last—the company has a 12-mission contract. It does make me wonder, though, what exactly the payload is. Sure, there are supplies the astronauts on the ISS need, but surely not 5,000 pounds worth. What else is riding in the Dragon?

Aboard the capsule is a mini space farm that will, if successful, allow astronauts to start growing their own veggies in space. The taste and quality of space food has certainly improved over time, but fresh vegetables would I’m sure be a welcome addition.

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NASA Scientists Control Robotic Arm With Kinect And Oculus Rift

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NASA JACORobots in space — two great tastes that taste great together. They might go to Mars ahead of the humans to set up facilities, 3-D printed robotic spiders might build spacecraft, and robots might make isolated astronauts less lonely. Yet another robotics advancement at NASA pairs humans and robots, allowing humans to control the actions of robotic counterparts using a good ol’ Microsoft Kinect and something called the Oculus Rift.

The Kinect sensor provides the position tracking, while the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset allows for rotational tracking and the first-person experience one gets when playing a game in virtual reality. When the user has the view he needs, he can perform tasks which control the real-time movements of robotic arm. NASA has been using a JACO robotic arm developed by Kinova, a Canadian company that specializes in rehabilitation and research. The arm has three fingers, six degrees of freedom, and is designed to represent a “new generation of lightweight portable robotic manipulators.”

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Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s Superhero Robot

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ValkyrieWe’ve done lots of posts here on GFR about NASA, many of which bemoan the state and the budget of the beleaguered agency. Now NASA has something that just may solve all of its problems — a superhero robot.

Valkyrie, who shares a name with female characters from Norse mythology who decide which soldiers die and which live, but who looks more like Iron Man, has the stature of a superhero at 6 feet tall and 275 pounds — it even sports a glowing NASA logo on its front. Engineers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston built Valkyrie in just nine months as part of this month’s DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials. This means Valkyrie will have to prove its disaster-thwarting meddle by driving vehicles, clearing debris, cutting through obstructions, climbing ladders, turning valves and knobs, and other physical tasks that any life-saving superhero needs to be able to perform.

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Listen To A Lonely Robot’s Epitaph In Robbie

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Last year, at the final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, I got a chance to meet the earthbound counterpart to NASA and GM’s Robonaut that was blasting off to the International Space Station. The Robonaut I met didn’t say much. He shook your hand if you offered it to him and did his best impression of a low-rider on his newly attached rover body, but beyond that it looked like there wasn’t much going on behind his optic sensors. In the short film Robbie, director Neil Harvey shows us Robonaut’s sensitive side as he reflects on his life before shutting down for the last time.