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CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts

NASA is thinking about emotionally intelligent robot helpers for long space voyages. Robots like the "crew interactive mobile companion" or CIMON.


(CIMON on the space station)

Proponents of the project hope that the virtual assistant would be able to anticipate the needs of the crew and help out as needed. Recently, a medicine-ball-sized robot, called CIMON (for “crew interactive mobile companion”) launched to the space station. It’s tasked with assisting the crew with various tasks over the course of three years.

The original version of CIMON was designed to work specifically with European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst as he conducts different experiments on station. However, things didn’t go exactly as planned and the robot proved it came with more attitude than Gerst bargained for.

The current robots lack emotional intelligence, but engineers are working to change that. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working with the Australian tech firm, Akin to develop a virtual assistant that could one day not only help with daily tasks but also provide emotional support to astronauts on long-duration missions.

Everybody remembers HAL from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I thought I'd reference the TARS and CASE robots from the 2014 movie Interstellar.


(TARS and CASE from Interstellar)

I also remembered the City Fathers from James Blish's Cities in Flight (1957) as examples of artificially intelligent companions for long space voyages.

Via Teslarati.

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