Robonaut 2 unpacked and unplugged

Its easy being a bit torn as what to make of this robot, is it really useful and what is its true purpose? Robonaut was boxed and launched together with the last mission for the Discovery space shuttle, once at place it had quite a wait in its little box.

The wait

The launch of Discovery was delayed for several months, and there’s not much you can do about that. Considering the delay I guess most of us expected the Robonaut to be unboxed fairly quickly, which was not the case.

Robonaut had to wait in its crate for almost three weeks before finally being brought out of its confinement . The launch date for the Discovery shuttle was 24th of February 2011, and the poor little fellow wasn’t unpacked until the 15th of March. That alone suggests that he isn’t of much use yet, or at least that his mission has a lower priority than the hype has lead us to believe.

More delays

Well it has finally been unpacked but, as said on his facebook page, we will have to wait to at least until May before they turn him on, what’s up with that? Why unpack him at all if he is to be offline for two more months?

What to expect

According to the official site of Robonaut, the first part of his mission consists of running experiments on his taskboard while people monitor the effects of micro gravity on him. Not exactly a glorious mission from my point of view.

The next step is probably when his legs will arrive at IIS but what use will legs have in a place where there’s virtually no gravity?

Some facts

Here’s some more details about the Robonaut


Cost: $2.5 million
Material: Mainly aluminum with steel
Weight: 330 pounds
Height: 3 feet, 7 inches (without legs)
Processors: 38 PowerPC, located in torso

The Robonaut has more than 350 sensors in his body, four cameras in his head and for depth perception it utilizes an infrared camera in his mouth area.

Noting this we can see that it indeed is a technological achievement, and perhaps it will continue to develop to the point where all our doubts are rendered defenseless.

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