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  (Source: NASA)
Robot dubbed R2 can use hands for things previous bots couldn't

Robots are being developed around the world for use in a myriad of tasks. People have dreamed of robots that will help take care of their homes and work alongside humans for decades and as technology evolves, we are coming closer to that reality.

Robots using technology that was once pure fiction are now actually being developed. Honda developed a small humanoid robot in 2009 called Asimo that was controlled by the thoughts of the human sitting in the control chair. The system used electroencephalography technology to measure electrical potential on the scalp of the operator with tech that was able to measure blood flow in the brain. Together with other tech, the user could control the robot to some extent by thought alone.

NASA is also very interested in robots for space exploration that are capable working in space side by side with human astronauts. The project is continuing despite the fact that Obama's 2011 budget killed hope of a manned mission to the moon.

GM and NASA worked together in the 1960's on the first moon flights. GM played a pivotal role in creating the iconic Lunar Rover Vehicle that the first lunar missions used for transportation. GM and NASA are now working together on the next generation of robots for space exploration and other uses here on Earth where risks to humans are too great. GM and NASA are working together through the Space Act Agreement at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to build a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 or R2. R2 is a faster and more dexterous version of the original Robonaut NASA built in the past. R2 is capable of using its hands to perform tasks beyond what previous humanoid robots were capable of doing.

NASA's Doug Cooke said, "This cutting-edge robotics technology holds great promise, not only for NASA, but also for the nation. I'm very excited about the new opportunities for human and robotic exploration these versatile robots provide across a wide range of applications."

GM is looking at the R2 project as a way to develop new technology that will allow it to make safer cars and production facilities in the future. The technology being developed in the R2 project uses advanced controls, sensors, and safety systems that can be adapted for vehicles and other needs.

"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."

The original Robonaut was built by NASA and designed for space travel as part of a collaborative effort with DARPA ten years ago. NASA has gained significant expertise in robotics and is using what it has learned in the R2 project in the hopes of creating a new era of space exploration.

"Our challenge today is to build machines that can help humans work and explore in space," said Mike Coats, Johnson's center director. "Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our capability for construction and discovery."

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By BeauP on 2/4/2010 10:37:40 AM , Rating: 5
R2 (version) D2?

RE: R2?!
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/4/2010 11:08:22 AM , Rating: 3
Only by name.... I say it looks more like C3P0.

As long as they can wash dish, windows and are fluent in over six million forms of communications they will work for me.

RE: R2?!
By Smartless on 2/4/2010 2:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, with his face shield and the picture of the two robots holding gun-shaped socket wrenches, I thought Masterchief without the armor. As long as it doesn't turn red and try to destroy Will Smith's car.

On a more serious note, I don't see why they don't send a robot to the moon like the Mars rover. Be easier to do stuff plus signal will be more responsive. Oops someone already said that.

RE: R2?!
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/4/2010 2:12:23 PM , Rating: 3
Hey now, stay with one movie. This tread is for Star Wars... The I-robot thread it two down. I'm mean if we are just going anywhere with this thread then I'd say they look more like "power rangers" then anything else... :)

RE: R2?!
By MrBlastman on 2/4/2010 12:31:31 PM , Rating: 1
Nice but... too bad they won't have funding to put this thing out into space or, at the least, the moon! :-|

(perhaps they should put it on Mars... oh, wait. Spending on NASA isn't as important doling out to other useless organizations.)

RE: R2?!
By geddarkstorm on 2/4/2010 1:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
With an RTG as a power supply, we could launch some of these to the moon with materials and have them build a base for us. There is so much potential for these. But we have to give them a good power source so they can be autonomous.

RE: R2?!
By dragonbif on 2/4/2010 1:36:22 PM , Rating: 2
They would also need an AI system like the Geth.

RE: R2?!
By Alexvrb on 2/4/2010 7:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
I for one welcome our new Geth overlords!

(I KNEW I should have taken Overload lessons!)

RE: R2?!
By superPC on 2/4/2010 4:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
now that we have the mechanical system, time to developed the computer system and make this robot truly autonomous like R2D2. i want to have a robot that can do my dishes, wash my clothes, clean my house all with voice command.

RE: R2?!
By Jeffk464 on 2/5/2010 8:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this stuff already done by your dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer?

RE: R2?!
By xlion on 2/7/2010 5:21:07 PM , Rating: 3
Isn't this stuff already done by your wife?

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