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R2 is at the ISS International Space Station and has reported to duty to help the astronauts.
In the current iteration of Robonaut, Robonaut 2 or R2, NASA and General Motors are working together to accelerate development of the next generation of robots and related technologies for use in the automotive and aerospace industries. The team is focusing on improving the speed, dexterity, and workspace of Robonaut. Robonaut is about improving the efficiency of missions. The dexterity of R2 allows it to use the same tools that astronauts currently use and removes the need for specialized tools just for robots.
One advantage is that Robonaut 2 can take over simple, repetitive, or especially dangerous tasks on places such as the International Space Station. Because R2 is approaching human dexterity, tasks such as changing out an air filter can be performed without modifications to the existing design.
The international Space Center has gotten its first robot in humanoid form from NASA + GM. Robonaut 2 = R2 lives now on the Space Shuttle Discovery on a one-way ride. Robonaut is a $2.7 million mechanical and electrical master piece. NASA hopes that R2, later maybe R3 can assist the astronaut with their daily work.
R2 has brought one set of tools for the precursor mission, such as setup and geologic investigation. Not only does this improve efficiency in the types of tools, but also removes the need for specialized robotic connectors. Future missions could then supply a new set of tools and use the existing tools already on location.
Robots can be placed into several classifications based on the type of job they do. One category includes tasks which a robot can do better than a human. Imagine that today, robots can increase productivity, accuracy, and endurance. And in another category, robots do dirty, dangerous or dull jobs to replace human labor with robotics.
And still another category allows robots to perform tasks that make humans virtual participants in events that would normally require excessive travel. Medical situations allow doctors to be “virtually” present during exams and even surgery because of certain types of robots.
A 500-pound = 225kg robot can follow a stroke patient down a hospital hallway and catches him when he falls.
A medical robot helps a wounded patient over a treadmill and teaches her legs how to walk again.
And many robotic virtual reality games helping patients with illnesses as Parkinson's or Alzheimer.
These are a few of the new medical tools or rehabilitation robots.
There are an estimated 4,000,000 service robots in use today, and over 1.000,000 industrial robots, with roughly half in Asia, 32% in Europe, 16% in North America, 1% in Australia and 1% in Africa.
While robots have been incorporated into many facets of manufacturing, fabrication, farming, their potential is almost limitless. Robots can be designed to perform specific functions or a myriad of tasks depending on the need. Robots can be designed to be self powered and autonomous, performing tasks in environments where it may be too dangerous for humans.
Or we can use robots for sustainable, organic agriculture
Imagine a garden helper that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and just needs an oil change (just kidding) or not?
Robots with embedded intelligence can handle large-scale heterogeneous plant populations without depleting the soil of specific nutrients, without the use of pesticides. Robots water on-demand and can drastically reduce water consumption.
Robot gardener can cultivate fruits and vegetables inside of buildings, contributing to a better room climate, less air conditioning use, better energy efficiency of the building, supporting the inhabitants diet.
Or will science fiction become reality and we will use robots to fight our wars?
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