Behaving Robotically

This entry was posted by Saturday, 6 February, 2010
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Employee Killer (uh.. EmployMENT Killer)

Jobs Jobs Jobs

We need more jobs, right? Maybe General Motors and NASA are a little “off message” here.

They’re creating “Robonaut 2“, a humanoid robot worker that any productivity – hungry, greedy corporation would LOVE to get its mitts around.

See, workplace robots aren’t easily mistaken for somebody you went out with last year. They tend to have wrenches for arms and stuff.

Hmm.. I take it back.

Anyway, the philosophy behind workplace robots is “form follows function”. In fact, it’s kinda reassuring when they look like machines. Easier to tell the difference between a robot and a me.

But at the Johnson Space Center, they attacked the problem quite differently because they need human assistants to work beside their astronauts. If you want a robot working beside you, it needs to be compatible with its human partners who do not HAVE little sockets to accept various special purpose tools. So Robonaut 2 (the familiar form of its name seems to be R2) can swap tools with its partners and is less likely to accidentally sideswipe a hapless spaceman (or woman) and send him.her spinning into space.

As far as gender is concerned, Robonaut 2 seems less likely to get tossed out of the men’s room than the ladies room with its current chestal configuration but I don’t see anything in the specs on the subject. Maybe its humanoid features aren’t THAT specific.

You may find it reassuring to note that he.she.it doesn’t look cheap to make.

ScienceAintSoBadRating = 7 and we’ll watch this development.


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