Robonaut becomes 1st humanoid robot in space

What could go wrong by putting a 330-pound humanoid robot on the International Space Station? Decades of science fiction stories can't be insanely far-fetched.

Agreed, human, I will operate the pod bay doors. NASA

Robotkind got NASA to send one of their own into space today--an unassuming humanoid "robot butler" that will be in the perfect spot to destroy Earth from orbit.

Sporting a terrifying mask, touting dumbbells, and tipping the scales at 330 pounds, Robonaut 2 has convinced just about everyone that despite its appearance it's not evil incarnate.

Before the macho droid lifted off in the Space Shuttle Discovery on the orbiter's final mission today at 1:53 p.m. PT, it tweeted innocently, "Excited to be a part of our nation's current & future space technology. Investments are critical to both our future in space and life on Earth."

Notice how it didn't say "humanity's future." That's a dead giveaway. It's clearly referring to the Robopocalypse (and I'm not talking about the forthcoming novel by Daniel Wilson).

It's no surprise that Robonaut 2, or R2, has pretty vague job aboard the International Space Station. The robot co-developed by General Motors is supposed to help the crew--and interact with it. It will be set up for certain tasks, handle tools and flip switches, working autonomously or by remote control.

From its stationary platform, R2 will act as more of a technology demonstrator than a useful addition to the station, where it will live permanently. NASA wants to upgrade it in the future so it can work outside the ISS.

The 3-foot-tall robot is constructed of steel and aluminum, and can hoist 20-pound loads in each of its 2-foot, 8-inch arms. Equipped with more than 350 sensors, it's controlled by 38 PowerPC processors and has four cameras and one infrared camera in its head.

And all that cost $2.5 million? Didn't the Death Star cost that much? Clearly, R2's got some hidden technology, like planet-vaporizing laser eyes, under that slick visor.

Nothing good will come of this, I tell ya.


 

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