Great update from NASA, shared by one of our TDT parents – From BBC News:
Nasa engineers are testing the next generation of equipment, designed for future human space exploration, in the deserts of Arizona. The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestial Explorer, or Athlete, robot is designed to be used to unload, transport, and handle cargo on the moon. Julie Townsend from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained how the six-legged vehicle has been designed to adjust its height and various other tricks, to help it deal with challenging conditions.
Read the full story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11339896
R2 looks a bit more like c-3po, but it’s the real deal – a humanoid robot — a robonaut — heading into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in September. Check out NASA Science News for the full story: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/29apr10_r2/
Neat piece of robotics news from Science Daily (NASA, GM Take Giant Leap in Robotic Technology)
NASA and General Motors are working together to accelerate development of the next generation of robots and related technologies for use in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Engineers and scientists from NASA and GM worked together through a Space Act Agreement at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to build a new humanoid robot capable of working side by side with people. Using leading edge control, sensor and vision technologies, future robots could assist astronauts during hazardous space missions and help GM build safer cars and plants.
The two organizations, with the help of engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston, developed and built the next iteration of Robonaut. Robonaut 2, or R2, is a faster, more dexterous and more technologically advanced robot. This new generation robot can use its hands to do work beyond the scope of prior humanoid machines. R2 can work safely alongside people, a necessity both on Earth and in space.
Read the complete article at Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205110636.htm