With Robonaut stepping down, NASA intends to send yet another a robotic assistant to the International Space Station to give a helping hand to the crew. As a result, the aerospace company will send up a floating robot, equipped with the latest doodads in artificial intelligence. If all goes according to place, the new robotic assistant, dubbed CIMON should be floating about the ISS in June or October.
Floating Robot Will Have a Three-Part Fire Baptism
CIMON, which is short for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, has passed its ground tests with flying colors and is more than ready to head out into space. The floating robot has been built by Airbus and IBM, and, according to its creator, it will be the first robotic assistant equipped with artificial intelligence to join the International Space Station crew.
Furthermore, instead of relying on octopus-like limbs like Robonaut, its predecessor, CIMON will hover over the astronauts, providing them with useful input. Matthias Biniok, IBM’s lead architect, explained that CIMON is outfitted with IBM’s Watson camera, making it capable of navigating the environment and, of course, recognizing faces and voices.
CIMON’s fire baptism will begin once it’s shipped aboard the International Space Station, due to happen somewhere around June or October. The floating robot’s trial period will last four months, during which it will work side-by-side Alexander Gerst, a representative of Germany’s space program.
Alongside Gerst, CIMON will need to perform three types of tasks – help the German astronaut perform experiments on crystals, prove its cleverness and ingenuity by solving a Rubik’s cube and last, but not least, supervise Gerst while he’s doing some medical experiments.
Unfortunately, CIMON’s not capable of floating using antigravitational devices, but rather taking advantage of space condition. However, the plastic sphere, which weighs around five kilograms, is sure to make a difference compared to Robonaut and Kirobo.
Image source: Pixabay