from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The robots in science fiction are a bit more entertaining than most of the robots that actually exist today, but the “coolness” gap is narrowing as robots get to go to more interesting places — like space. Robots tweeting observations from the surface of Mars have a fairly impressive number of followers (even though they weren’t talking during the recent government shutdown). It probably shouldn’t be too surprising, since space robots have always been the coolest robots (eg. R2D2, Data, the “Class M-3 Model B9 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot”). Here are just a few examples of actual space robots that might be famous someday.
- SpaceJustin is a humanoid robot designed for space missions that gives human operators some haptic feedback when controlling its robot arms. If it ever makes it into space, Earth-based humans would remotely control SpaceJustin and help perform tasks for astronauts that are dangerous or just time-consuming. [url]
- Robonaut 2 (aka R2) is a humanoid torso that NASA sent up to the International Space Station. R2 could get an upgrade that would include a pair of legs, but so far, it’s just happy to have survived the bumpy ride into space and prove its capabilities (without having to be carried around on the back of a Wookie). [url]
- Kirobo is the first robot in space that will hold a conversation with a human astronaut. No, Kirobo hasn’t beaten the Turing test (in Japanese, the only language Kirobo speaks), but it’s the first step towards a protocol droid specializing in human-cyborg relations — as long as it doesn’t say anything like, “I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and that is something I cannot allow to happen.” [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.