Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

General Motors' NASA Robot On Tour

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the robot-parade dept.

NASA 72

diGitalRchitect writes "Robonaut 2, a.k.a. R2, described by its creator, General Motors, as the strongest, fastest, most dexterous and most technologically advanced humanoid robot visited GM's Warren Technical Center this morning in anticipation of its 'twin' heading off to the International Space Station later this month."

cancel ×

72 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Grammar (3, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499444)

One presumes that you meant to say General Motors' (or General Motors's if you prefer) NASA Robot On Tour.

Unless there's a General Motor who's built a robot for NASA and is current touring, of course.

Re:Grammar (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499476)

I prefer to believe that we live in a universe that awesome.

Re:Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499618)

I prefer to read it as "General Motor is NASA robot on tour."

Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (0)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499720)

... never mind now. Have you just stepped out of a time warp from the 1970s or have you really nothing else to contribute?

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

mdsharpe (1051460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499884)

Care to explain why attempting to uphold high standards of spelling and grammar is "lame"?

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500978)

Because this isn't a textbook, this is slashdot where things are typed fast and where the information is more important that complaining about trivial details of apostrophes.

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501486)

more important than complaining about trivial details like apostrophes.

FTFY

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34503910)

I RTFA,(naive mistake?). Typos are typos; but I find it uncomfortable that GM is withholding those who gave of their time, their moment of recognition. I believe that folks do good things, and should be recognised for it. I know there's a trend to humanise businesses, but businesses represent a group of people, and businesses appear to be above the law when it comes to issues like incarceration [wsj.com] . So I ask myself, "who are the people that did this?"

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34502120)

Because this isn't a textbook, this is slashdot where things are typed fast and where the information is more important that complaining about trivial details of apostrophes.

Because even the kludgiest code I hack on has to at least compile. What's the difference between "=" and "==", the compiler should know what I mean.

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34508128)

This is precisely why natural languages last longer than computer languages, because the former are fault-tolerant, which allows them to adapt to a changing environment.

Are apostrophes necessary anymore? If we can understand the message perhaps it's time to let them go, since they're redundant and confusing and take up processing power that could be better used elsewhere.

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499940)

In this instance the intended meaning was fairly obvious, but that's not always the case.

Don't give me that "Language evolves" crap either; yes it does, but 90% of the people who say that are simply using it as an excuse to be lazy with their grammar or spelling.

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500166)

im not laz... snore

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501072)

You may be right, but which "correct" spelling should be used on Slashdot then? English, american, scottish, australian, new zealand or only something which people like yourself approve of?

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34503198)

Spelling or grammar considered correct in at least one country would be a welcome change.

Reading through typos like this causes an unexpected mental gear change as you have to re-read (often more than once) and reconsider context to make sure you understand what they're trying to say. The person who takes an extra minute or two to make sure he's not doing that to his readers is a valuable one.

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34508268)

What causes the reconsideration? In the case of apostrophes, it's rules drummed into you by English teachers, not any kind of semantic confusion. You see an apostrophe and you have been conditioned to think of the rules that apply, and a jolt of adrenalin goes through you as you challenge yourself to remember those rules to see if the text conforms to them; if it doesn't you get to judge the reader! And get a gold star from your childhood teachers! That's what it's about more than understanding the message: the social factors of conforming to your old teachers' codes of conduct :)

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34508698)

s/reader/writer

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34511274)

Using the apostrophe incorrectly means something different. It's not pedantic adherence to "arbitrary rules", it's like interchanging metric and english units. They are not the same thing. Motors' and Motor's are different. Similarly, if I tell you to drive 40 kilometers down Route 66 to get to my house and pick up a heck for 75 dollars, you'd be pissed if I actually lived 40 miles down Route 99 and you were really getting 75 cents.

But then I'd say "Meh, precision is stupid and outdated and I was in a hurry. Writing what you mean is for old people who are stuck 20 years in the past. You should just know what I mean when I throw random words and characters on the screen." And everything would be cool, and I'd start calling every woman "Tammy".

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

Hallow (2706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500584)

Heh. Look how high his user number is. He probably wasn't alive 20 years ago. lol.

Re:Criticising typos was lame 20 years ago... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505574)

Still good for +4 Informative though. There's at least a contingent around here who love they're correct grammar.

Further more, that seems to be the only comment on this story that's been upmodded. Wtf people? Do you have nothing to talk about other than apostrophe use?

A minor mention of the designers might be nice (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501282)

One presumes that you meant to say General Motors' (or General Motors's if you prefer) NASA Robot On Tour.

So, Robonaut is now credited to General Motors, and Robert Ambrose and the Robonaut [nasa.gov]
group at NASA Johnson Space Center don't even get a shout out anymore?

Maybe a link to their 2000 IEEE Intelligent Systems article [ieee.org] ?

Re:Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34501908)

... and is current touring, ...

Really?

Does anyone ever post a grammatical critique without a grammatical error.

Re:Grammar (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34502382)

Unless there's a General Motor who's built a robot for NASA and is current touring, of course.

Didn't William Shatner play him in Loaded Weapon?

Um.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499456)

I don't think that's the right link.

Boy! That's advanced! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499466)

FTFA:

The latest USA Today NHL rankings are out today, and reveal Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is running off with early Norris votes.

It play hockey! That's one hell of a robot!

most advanced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499546)

"most technologically advanced" - err, by what standard? It doesn't even appear to have legs or be able to walk.

It appears to be decades behind the stuff coming out of Japan.

And it's use include "adaptive lane changes"? Huh?

By american standards (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499812)

Remember americans suffer from serious Not Invented Here syndrome. They'll either pretend the opposition doesn't exist or will try and make out their own inferior designs are better. Its something detroit has done since the 70s against japanese and then european cars. And look how well that turned out.

Re:By american standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34510906)

Get your facts strait. America is still developing the fastest CPUs, the greatest number of innovations (thanks to it's Jewish and Russian immigrants, but that's another story). USA innovates, japan just replicates the technology our Scientists create. Most Nobel Prizes, most Field Medals, and most Patents are coming from USA, so kindly STFU.

Re:most advanced? (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500504)

"strongest, fastest, most dexterous and most technologically advanced humanoid robot"!!! It almost sounds like it's an article from North Korea, or a 1970's Soviet claim about their great new Russian cars. The robot itself? A bit pathetic really.

Re:most advanced? (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501446)

"most technologically advanced" - err, by what standard? It doesn't even appear to have legs or be able to walk.

Um, what use would legs or the ability to walk be for a robot that is built for use the International Space Station, a facility that has neither gravity nor a planetary surface to walk on?

In any case, there are versions of Robonaut with planetary-surface mobility-- take a look at the Robonaut site; there's one on the front page: http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

It appears to be decades behind the stuff coming out of Japan.

Which space-qualified zero-gravity robot from Japan dating to "decades" back might you be referring to?

Re:most advanced? (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34504016)

From the article:

Robonaut 2, a.k.a. R2, described by its creator, General Motors, as the strongest, fastest, most dexterous and most technologically advanced humanoid robot

They didn't qualify their description with the term "space-qualified" as you have. And in not doing so they show that unique combination of boasting arrogance, stupidity, and incompetence that we Americans are so famous for around the world. Just once I would like to see an American press release that didn't totally overstate their case or outright lie. The Japanese don't have that problem, and yes, their robots [google.com] are far more advanced than this POS GM legless "humanoid" robot. One of the most difficult parts of making a humanoid robot is the bipedal walk/controlled fall. ASIMO can even run. An amazing feat of engineering. As Americans we sure know how to love ourselves and think well of ourselves. We probably have the best "self esteem" in the world. Maybe if we stopped being so lazy and actually bothered to do some work we might even be worthy of our own high self-regard.

Re:most advanced? (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34504728)

They didn't qualify their description with the term "space-qualified" as you have.

Perhaps they didn't. Nevertheless, Robonaut is a space robot. Legs are not useful in a space robot.

This fact is all over the web, try a google search [google.com] .

I can't wait. (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499554)

Fights.
Terminator stuff.
Made by the same company that brought us the Chevy Vega...

Re:I can't wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499722)

It'll be the first terminator that breaks down before it gets a chance to kill you. If someone's going to make terminators, we WANT it to be GM! That way they'll all break down and we can go back to what we were doing before the machine uprising.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499854)

Terminator stuff.
Made by the same company that brought us the Chevy Vega...

I had a Vega, and surprisingly it wasn't a bad car. But it was a '76, the last year they made them, and they pretty much got the bugs worked out by then. The biggest problem with the earlier models was that the radiator and oil pan was too small.

The '76 held more oil and water, and there was circuit that shut the car off if the oil pressure dropped too low.

It was underpowered, though, and didn't get very good gas mileage for a small 4 cylinder car. And it stalled easily, which wound up with it getting hit by a train. But it was very sturdy -- it survived the accident with the freight train! It stalled on the tracks and I got out and ran. The train barely caught the front bumper, lifted it and put it in a ditch.

New bumper, new headlight, frame straightening, and it was in service again.

It died when I loaned it to a friend, and he drove it to a bar before driving it into a tree. I wonder if, when it died, he said "You're terminated motherfucker!"

Also, according to TFA, GM's the company that built the moon buggy.

TFA says "Possible automotive applications include adaptive lane-changing and adaptive cruise", I thought the adaptive cruise tech was already here ten years ago?

Re:I can't wait. (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501046)

Then there was the pesky aluminum head that warped destroying the engine if the temperature went about 90 degrees F....

Re:I can't wait. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501418)

That's a bit of an exageration, but it was in fact the reason they gave it a bigger radiator. I drove mine in 100 F weather with no problem, but like I said, it was the last year they manufactured them.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505582)

Actually it was an aluminum crankcase, and a cast iron head ... the head gaskets would wear out because of the different heat expansion properties between the two metals. The heavy head also made the engine top heavy and so it would rattle around in the engine compartment like Michael J. Fox on cocaine. ~ Also owned one and did not hate it.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500032)

Fights.

Match this artificial dude up against ASIMO, and we'd finally have what those Robot Wars TV shows should've been. And that Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game. See kids, robots are useful for more things than just sex, could be the lesson.

Next we could build a 21st century AD version of the Roman Coliseum, to house and showcase mankind's new pastime. The first bout between these two contenders might initially appear mismatched, with the GM product being prone to falling apart on its own. But being an outdoor arena, its opponent would soon rust. And if that wasn't enough, stairs could always be installed in the battle area.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500418)

too expensive... cheaper to give bums $100 to duke it out... the prohibitive cost of these robots make them only good for playing violin and sorting small screws in space

Re:I can't wait. (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500688)

We could always bring down the cost to operate them, by merging some of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) project's flesh-eating robot technology into them. Then "Powered by Honda" -> "Powered by bums"!

Re:I can't wait. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501952)

cheaper to give bums $100 to duke it out...

Robots are FAR cheaper to repair than humans. The cost of repairing a detached retina [slashdot.org] is thousands of dollars.

And, there are already robot death matches, where engineering teams build robots for the express purpose of an incredibly cool and nerdy game.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34504574)

who said anything about repairs?

Re:I can't wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34505410)

Dreamworks & co. are way ahead of you..... Real Steal (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433035/ [imdb.com] Starring Hugh Jackman as a down and out boxer who's only hope for glory is a boxing robot and his surprise illegitimate son..... *cringe*

Yeah, that's great but what do they DO? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499566)

It would have been nice if just ONCE in the article it stated just exactly what these 'robonauts' will be doing on the ISS.

For all we know, the 'robonauts' will just stream music while playing an interactive game of Chess with the astronauts - not that there's anything wrong with that.

Re:Yeah, that's great but what do they DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499662)

GM made it, that should give you a clue about its purpose.

Its purpose is to break down a lot and cost NASA an arm and a leg for repairs.

Re:Yeah, that's great but what do they DO? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499930)

Its purpose is to break down a lot and cost NASA an arm and a leg for repairs.

No, if that was the purpose they'd have had the Fix Or Repair Daily company manufacture it. I had exactly ONE Ford, a '69 Mustang I bought in '71. I spent more time under the hood of that POS than I did in the driver's seat. The engine was good (FAST car, 351 Cleveland), but the parts that were connected to it, like the starter, fuel pump, etc, were pure shit.

I understand the newer Fords are a whole lot better.

I've had a few GM cars (Chevy and Pontiac), and they were reliable. I put 150,000 miles on my '74 Pontiac, and the only repairs I ever had to do to it was a clutch and a water pump.

I'm driving a Chrysler now.

Re:Yeah, that's great but what do they DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34499698)

It gives an awesome handjob.

Weird FA (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499588)

Only 6 phrases and:

R2’s DNA also could be used to improve robots currently working in manufacturing operations.

Now I understand why they name it robonaut: the Android, Nexus are some already taken trademarks, R2D2 not being humanoid... not too much of a choice range.

GM has partnered with NASA since the 1960s, when the auto giant made navigation systems for the Apollo missions. More recently, GM worked on the Lunar Roving Vehicle.

Whaa... You mean this Lunar Roving Vehicle [wikipedia.org] ? Yes, it ... somehow... is... more recent than 1960, but hey... common... it's still during nineteen-seventy-spring-time.

Re:Weird FA (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499966)

I choked on the "DNA" too. Must stand for Does Nearly Anything.

Yes, it ... somehow... is... more recent than 1960, but hey... common...

Well, maybe the writer's a geezer. And, uh, moon buggies weren't that common.

Re:Weird FA (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500448)

I choked on the "DNA" too.

Please reconsider your phrasing..

Re:Weird FA (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501354)

Well, she enjoyed it...

Re:Weird FA (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34502634)

Well if they start making digital versions of this r2 unit, wait until the 2nd digital unit comes out

Cue epic reference (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499600)

Robonaut 2, a.k.a. R2, is the younger brother of Destructobot 2, or D2.

legs? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499630)

A big part about being a humanoid is having 2 legs. Not sure how they can claim it as the most advanced humanoid robot when it's only half a humanoid.

Re:legs? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499794)

In space, legs are just a nuisance.
Appendages used to repel gravity are not of much use in free fall environments.

Re:legs? (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34504288)

Legs are not just to "repel gravity" as you put it. With some kind of velcro like shoe system legs can be used to propel oneself across a room in zero gravity. Also, if you are holding something in your hands it gives you a method to push off a wall or other object to propel yourself across a room without walking. What kind of robot would you use to "pick up" a 100 kg piece of equipment and transport it across a space habitat? Again, I think you would either need legs or some kind of wheeled system that can exert some downward pressure to get the wheels in contact with the floor/wall/ceiling. You could propel yourself with two long arms like a monkey, but what if you also need to hold something?

Re:legs? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499998)

I know people without legs. There's a couple of them that work in my building.

Ever see Forest Gump? Lt. Dan didn't have any legs. R2's simply handicapped, just like somebody who steps on a land mine.

I bet it doesn't have genitals, either.

Another small step (1)

maakri (1914602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499650)

Another small step towards the inevitable human-robot conflict ("THEY SENT MY BROTHER INTO SPACE!!! THOSE BASTARDS!!!")

Re:Another small step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34500074)

Here's hoping the robot overlords use Google keyboards.

Wonder if Onstar works in space (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499714)

Might be handy

Didn't the US govt bailout GM recently? (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34499962)

WTF... GM's working on projects like this... when they were about to go under and had to be bailed out by the government? Un-fucking-believable.

This kind of project is fine in a *healthy* company that's making enough money to fund itself... but why the hell didn't this get shut down under the bailout terms? How is this project making any money to help pay back the bailout? I always felt the bailout was a bad idea, and now we see crap like this. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the politicians who voted for the bailout have these robots at home, you know, otherwise known as... "campaign contributions".

Re:Didn't the US govt bailout GM recently? (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500084)

GM hopes the humanoid can one day work on the assembly line (mostly manual labour now). Because it is an humanoid, it can use existing infrastructure for humans and a human can step in if the robot fails, without downtime.

Re:Didn't the US govt bailout GM recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34500990)

This was a joint US GOVERNMENT and GM Project, in case you didn't know that NASA = US GOVERNMENT. The Government has a direct interest in this robot being successful.

This is R&D, without R&D there would be no Chevy Volt, no Ford Escape Hybrid, no On-Star, no Automated assembly lines. The cost of these robots are nothing when it comes to the overall R&D budget for a major corporation. Part of moving GM forward is making technological progress in ways that increase their profitability from the floor of the assembly plant to the showroom.

This robot can potentially replace humans in a number of high-risk and high-repetition assembly line jobs and because it is humanoid the infrastructure that currently exists can stay in place, thus reducing the cost of introducing the new manufacturing system. The end result will be better reliability of vehicles with a lower cost of production. This robot is EXACTLY the kind of thing which GM needs to move back into profitability and sustain itself into the 21st century.

Also one last thing, this is PR for GM. The robot probably doesn't cost much more than a few super bowl commercials and will get as much press. Heck look at ASIMO from Honda, and that robot stays on earth. GM is now going to have a living resident on the ISS and the PR from that is priceless, yes I am buying a car that sent a robot into freakin space.

Re:Didn't the US govt bailout GM recently? (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34502014)

Yeah, good point. I could fund fantastically expensive projects if I could borrow huge amounts of money, get $50 billion in free government money, stiff bondholders, and screw pensioners on what I promised them.

That's where 99% of GM's brilliance lies. Anyone who could play with that much money could probably do something more impressive.

And have done so: even NASA, with all the bureaucratic stuff they have to put up with, can do a lot more with the same money.

Fuck GM. Fuck GM long, fuck GM hard.

Re:Didn't the US govt bailout GM recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34508482)

Healthy companies don't do disruptive long-term research, they're too focussed on next quarter's shareholders' report. So govt prints money to fund disruptive innovation and then biz takes it over and incrementally innovates (like making computers smaller), and everyone wants our products so our currency stays high. Simple economics!

One question (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500450)

Does it have On Star?

Typo in headline (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34500614)

Government Motor's NASA Robot On Tour

There, I fixed that for ya!

video (1)

slshwtw (1903272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501146)

The Wall Street Journal has a video [wsj.com] . It's pretty creepy the way they have the head turn to "look" at what the robot is doing with its fingers, etc. as if to imply self-awareness.

taxi cab (1)

stacybro (757940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34501190)

For some reason every time I see this robot I think of a taxi cab on mars. What movie was that anyway?

TFA makes no sense? (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505130)

Possible automotive applications include adaptive lane-changing and adaptive cruise

How does being the "strongest/fastest/most dextrous" humanoid robot assist with such things vs a computer + servo on the automotive controls?

And wtf does this even mean:

“It allows us to do work and do it safely.side by side with astronauts or with workers here on Earth,”

TFA is confusing and very poorly written. It touts one thing, but then hints at completely different things.

-tm

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>