ROKVISS Telepresence Robot Heading To Space Station
The ROKVISS (Robotic Components Verification on ISS) robot will be leaving Earth aboard the Progress M-51 spaceship on December 24th. Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and astronaut Leroy Chiao will install the German robot on the outside of the International Space Station at the end of January.
(From Новый робот-манипулятор)
ROKVISS is a fifty centimeter-long robotic manipulator with two hinges, a controller, lighting system, metallic fingers and two built-in cameras. This device will work in open space, installed on the external platform of the space station. A stereo video camera mounted on the front-most joint of the robot transmits images together with the measured joint positions and current joint moments to the ground station. The robot receives its motion commands from the ground station in real-time via an S-band communications link. The robot can be operated in an automatic and a telepresence mode. Telepresence mode can be used for about five to seven minutes during the phase of direct radio contact, when the system passes over the receiving station in Germany (German Space Operation Center, GSOC).
In the automatic mode, the system goes through selected, predefined motion sequences. The measured joint data will be stored on-board and later transmitted to ground during the contact phases. The total downlink communication data rate including "housekeeping" and video data will be between 2 and 4 Mbits per second. Uplink communication takes place at a minimum of 128 kbits per second. Continuous control is handled from the ground. The ROKVISS S-band antenna is aligned to Earth (nadir). The cameras will also be able to take pictures of incoming and outgoing spacecraft and the extravehicular activities of the astronauts and cosmonauts.
(From ROKVISS Location Diagram)
The goal of the program is to demonstrate that it is possible to fully control the robot remotely from Earth. "We must demonstrate that our robot can be controlled from earth in the real time, almost without delays, and that it is highly autonomous," said one of the robot's designers, Gerd Hirzinger, a professor at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. "If we succeed, we will be able to do dangerous and difficult tasks in space from earth." A 500 millisecond round trip delay is expected in the signal.
In Oath of Fealty, a Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle novel written in 1981, we can see the future of telepresence in the following scenes from a documentary described in the book:
"Meet Rachel Lief," Lunan said. "Ms. Lief is a bulldozer driver." Lunan paused for effect. "As you see, Ms. Lief doesn't look like your typical tractor driver..."
"But then," Lunan said, "not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon." The cameras followed the trim woman into another room, where there was a replica of a large tractor. It was surrounded by TV screens. One screen showed an astronaut sitting in the driver's seat, staring impatiently into the screen. A bleak, nearly colorless pit showed over his left shoulder.
"About time you got here," the astronaut said.
"We were busy," Rachel sat down in the driver's seat and took hold of the controls. "I relieve you..."
The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... "As you can see... this is no easy job. It takes over a second for the signal to get to the Moon, and over a second for the information to get back to her. It takes a lot of computer power to work this trick, but its worth it. Meet Colonel Robert Boyd, commander of Moon Base."
"Colonel Boyd, does it help to have Earth-based machine operators?"
"Sure. It costs a lot to keep people on the Moon. Now it's like I have four or five times as many people up hear, and I don't have to find air for them or feed them."
I also find it interesting that the remotely operated telepresence robot will be delivered by an unmanned, automated ship.
If you are interested in a teleoperated robot that is more humanoid in form, read Robonaut Performs Hubble Space Repair Tasks; if you think that machines should be able to get their task done without human guidance, read Teleo-Reactive Programs Are Reaching Their Goals. Read more about ROKVISS at Space Station Crew Prepares For Robot and at ROKVISS presentation.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/15/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'- David Keller, 1928.
Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'- Blade Runner.
Toshiba's Lifelike Communication Android
Philip K. Dick offered a glimpse into this future in 1968.
Most Advanced Robotic Hand?
'Hands I could order from the atomics-engineering equipment companies...'- Robert Heinlein, 1956.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Will You Upload Your Mind Anytime Soon?
And if so, how long will the copy last?
Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Amazing ARES Augmented Reality Sandbox
'First he showed him where the input and output of his brand-new kingdom were, and how to program wars...'
'3D Light Sculpture' Projected Directly Onto Retina
'...projects directly on the retina of the eye…'
3D Printer Vending Machine Dispenses Dreams
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'
Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'
Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'
The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'
Scheherazade, An Open Story Generator
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'
Sample The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'
'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'
Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'
'Artificial Spleen' Cleans The Blood
'The workability of wholly mechanical organs... '
Raffia, The Google Streetview Camel
The old and the new, together.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories