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Phenom Anon X

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Kirobo, a humanoid “robot astronaut†is scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on August 4, 2013. The Japanese robot will then take place in the first robot-to-human conversation in space.

Kirobo project manager, Yorichika Nishijima, told the Associated Press that, "Russia was the first to go outer space, the U.S. was the first to go to the moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans."

The robot's name is derived from the Japanese word for hope, 'kibo', and 'robot'. The name was the result of a competition from which more than 2,400 entries were submitted. The Japanese Kibo module of the Space Station, is also named for 'hope'.

Kirobo has already been through zero-gravity and other safety tests in preparation for launch. Because there is no need for Kirobo to perform physical activities, it is smaller than most robots, measuring 34cm in height and weighing in at only 1kilogram.

Read more @:

http://kibo-robo.jp/en/

http://www.space.com/21752-japan-launching-talking-robot-august.html

http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/japanese-robot-kirobo-ready-to-launch-for-first-robot-astronaut-chat-in-space/story-fn5fsgyc-1226670508596

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/shortcuts/2013/jun/27/kirobo-talking-robot-creepy-space-companion

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Interesting, what's the point though? Why do we need a little robot that can talk in space?

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Interesting, what's the point though? Why do we need a little robot that can talk in space?

Not sure, but it's going to the ISS, so we might as well keep up with the news. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more of this little guy in the weeks ahead.

Turn Captions on to Translate from Japanese. Might have to watch on youtube itself if Captions option is not enabled in the forum embed.

Edited by Phenom Anon X
typo

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Interesting, what's the point though? Why do we need a little robot that can talk in space?

From that article you can't tell; because the photo angle neatly hides the Toyota symbol. I wonder how much JAXA are being paid for this...

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could be used to go into spaces humans can't and do repairs there. Like fix leaks in air ducts.

Not needing special tools but using tools already there for humans is a benefit, though whether enough of one to warrant the expense I can't tell.

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could be used to go into spaces humans can't and do repairs there. Like fix leaks in air ducts.

Not needing special tools but using tools already there for humans is a benefit, though whether enough of one to warrant the expense I can't tell.

I think that would be a very useful thing to get a robot to do, but it doesn't seem like this robot is designed for that sort of thing, considering they're only advertising the talking and that it doesn't appear to have any dexterity in it's hands, which are a pretty thick, blocky design.

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Could be useful in an emergency.

If he's able to read system displays and call them out to ground control, should something happen to the manned crew he might be able to tell them what.

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It's probably just an outreach program to schools -- send a toy to space and then tour it. I'm guessing it'll have some sort of programmed speech about its flight later.

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I have never really understood the fascination of the Japanese for anthropomorphic robots. Most of them just look creepy and because they are designed with form before function, they are less efficient at actual tasks than if they were designed with function over form, like most machines are. If it's just for human interaction, why the need for complicated hardware when you can render a rather expressive 3D face on a LCD panel?

For example, a robot designed for microgravity has no need for legs or cute looking feet. If it's going to be mobile, the wire is only going to get in the way and it doesn't look like it has any way of moving around. No prehensile hands to grab handles or perform tasks. If it's going to be fixed in position and only used "to talk to astronauts", then there is no need for any flight hardware at all, because they could just upload the software to one of the laptops.

It just looks like a publicity stunt aimed at the Japanese public, and a pretty big waste of astronaut time (and therefore money).

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I think that would be a very useful thing to get a robot to do, but it doesn't seem like this robot is designed for that sort of thing, considering they're only advertising the talking and that it doesn't appear to have any dexterity in it's hands, which are a pretty thick, blocky design.

I'd consider the first one to be a proof of concept, a prototype at best, technology demonstrator.

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Look up Robonaut 2; the US has also built an anthropomorphic robot for the ISS, in daily use handling the controls for routine tasks to free up the astronauts for more difficult ones.

Granted, they deliberately left the legs off for the simple reason that they're not really necessary in space, but the rest of the design is deliberately humanoid enough to make the crew feel more comfortable with it. (The ISS's controls and displays are designed for human hands and the human eye position relative to them, so Robonaut 2 had to emulate those... and if you're already doing that, it's a lot less creepy to have a casing that's sort-of-human-shaped-but-not-so-much-so-that-you-get-into-the-Uncanny Valley than to just have an exposed framework.)

The astronauts also used Robonaut 2 to pull a webcam prank on Mission Control. Apparently, they got up earlier than scheduled one morning so that they could uncrate him and pre-position him for the prank, then carefully sealed his crate back up so that it looked like it hadn't been opened. Then, when they came to the time on the schedule they were supposed to uncrate him, they did so on-camera, and were "shocked" to find the crate was empty. After a couple bits of "Hey, are you guys sure you sent the right crate?" and such, they then told Mission Control they had just found something kinda shocking to show them, and swung the camera around to show R2 (uncrated but still not yet activated) parked where they'd pre-positioned him, at the controls to the Japanese Experimental Module. "I guess he was a bit eager to get to work!"

The video of the prank is up on YouTube; it's actually almost-but-not-quite viral.

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Robonaut has a different function. Its main purpose is to be used as a remote control teleoperator. It doesn't move or do anything on its own. Although R2 is not EVA capable, the goal is to reduce the need for EVAs by sticking a robonaut on the end of a manipulator arm to do the work while being controlled from the inside or from the ground. It is anthropomorphic because it is designed to be teleoperated by humans and to use tools that are designed for human hands and human sight.

This Japanese thing serves no purpose at all.

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The Mattel space agency launched a similar robot many years ago. However, their research department was able to do it with a only a fraction of the cost that Japan did it with.

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Purely on the thread´s title: any bets on the next movie announced by emmerich will be a remake of 2001/10?

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It just looks like a publicity stunt aimed at the Japanese public, and a pretty big waste of astronaut time (and therefore money).

Given how low the interest in space is, I'm not convinced that publicity is a waste of astronauts' time.

And this is far from the first such project: http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id=A19980134000

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The video of the prank is up on YouTube; it's actually almost-but-not-quite viral.

That was an amazing vid. For some reason I had this immage of astronauts as extremely serieus people, and to see them joke like this is really awesome :P

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