Floating AI Robot Sent to Space

02 July, 2018, 02:55 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
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An observational pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON), aims to get first insights into the effects of crew support by an artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space. Super-caffeinated coffee is also flying up for the space station's java-craving crew.

The name CIMON (pronounced "Simon") is derived from the character Professor Simon from Captain Future, a science fiction comic book in the 1940s and '50s made into a Japanese cartoon in the 1970s that was translated into German. No mutinous takeovers like HAL from the 1968 film classic "2001: A Space Odyssey".

"CIMON is created to support astronauts in performing routine work, for example by displaying procedures or - thanks to its "neural" AI network and its ability to learn - offering solutions to problems", Airbus explained in a news release.

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When Gerst calls to CIMON, the floating robot will acoustically sense where Gerst is calling from, orient itself that way, and zoom over. The robot is a "mobile and autonomous assistance system" meant to help astronauts out with their day-to-day tasks. And CIMON has trained some time on Earth with German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is already on the ISS board.

The metal and plastic intelligent robot, built using 3D printing, works together with people as a team, and allows astronauts to communicate hands-free via voice commands.

To be honest, we find it more exciting than scary and we're sure the astronauts on board the space station will find his company interesting and useful.

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Cimon smiles when it senses the conversation is upbeat and frowns when it's sad.

CIMON will be powered by more than a dozen propellers to help it jet around and avoid bumping into things inside the Columbus module of the space lab. Because it's perfectly round - a little bigger than a basketball - it's also safer, with no sharp edges that could damage space station equipment or poke astronauts. "It then will deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station", NASA said.

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