We may have a real R2D2 on our hands. NASA and GM announced today that they have created the Robonaut2—an intergalactic space traveling robot. This space traveling robot is the first step in NASA initiative to make astronauts feel useless and obsolete—just kidding. The Robonaut2 is not the first of it’s like, hence the 2.
Side Note: NASA is making the robot lift weights in the above picture–robots are funny enough as is, but we now know that they grow exponentially more hilarious when their creators try to make them do “human things” aka lift weights…
The original Robonaut was built by NASA and DARPA about ten years ago, and designed for space travel. NASA claims it has gained significant expertise in robotics and is using what it has learned in the R2 project to open the gates of a new era of space exploration.
“For GM, this is about safer cars and safer plants,” said Alan Taub, GM’s vice president for global research and development. “When it comes to future vehicles, the advancements in controls, sensors and vision technology can be used to develop advanced vehicle safety systems. The partnership’s vision is to explore advanced robots working together in harmony with people, building better, higher quality vehicles in a safer, more competitive manufacturing environment.”
Neither NASA nor GM described what is really different about the new R2 from its predecessor, aside from it being stronger and having better dexterity. We’re going to go ahead and guess that the 2010 R2 version is a little more technologically advanced and reliable than the previous space robot.
Check out the videos.
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- Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier
- Does a steam-powered spacecraft hold the key to exploring the solar system?