Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Robot Partners from NASA Ames

NASA - NASA Developing Robots with Human Traits

NASA researchers envision futuristic robots that 'act' like people, enabling these mechanical helpers to work more efficiently with astronauts.

Because human crews will be limited to small teams, astronauts will need robot 'helpers' to do much of each team's work, scientists reason.

Though remotely-controlled machines and robots that work entirely on their own are valid goals, the NASA-Ames team plans to focus on robots that are partly controlled by people and operate independently the rest of the time, Nourbakhsh said.

There are three main areas that Nourbakhsh's team will develop. One is called 'collaborative control,' during which the human being and the robot will speak to one another and work as partners.
A second area that NASA Ames researchers will develop is to build robots that have reasoning mechanisms that work similarly to human reasoning.
Thirdly, the researchers will conduct field tests of people and robots working together.

The robots will help assemble buildings, test equipment, weld structures and dig with small tools.

Human beings and robots will use "partner-to-partner" interaction to share information and to support one another.

"These teams will include humans and robots working in close quarters as well as humans controlling and interacting with robots over medium distances and from ground control," Nourbakhsh predicted. "The effectiveness of human-robot interaction will have a major impact on productivity, cost and risk reduction in exploration missions," he explained.

Robots and human beings need to clearly converse about goals, abilities, plans and achievements, according to Fong. People and robots need to "collaborate to solve problems, especially when situations exceed (robot) autonomous capabilities," Fong explained.

NASA - NASA Developing Robots with Human Traits


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