That AI robot that had an emotional meltdown in space got an upgrade
SpaceX was finally able to launch its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station this week after the initial launch was scrubbed due to poor weather conditions. The spacecraft is carrying a whole bunch of neat stuff to the ISS, including an upgraded version of an AI-powered floating robot that lost its cool when interacting with its astronaut handler.© Provided by BGR CIMON-new1609 Roughly a year ago, the CIMON robot was being tested for its ability to act as a robotic assistant for the scientists aboard the space station.
To help astronauts of the future survive the mental challenges that come with residing in space for extended periods of time, space travelers' missions could soon be accompanied by AI-powered, empathetic robotic assistants.
Not only does space travel present astronauts with a slew of physical strains and stresses, spending months or years in such a physically demanding place with limited space and the same people can also raise an abundance of mental tests as well. According to MIT Technology Review, scientists are working to alleviate astronauts from some of the latter challenges by creating "an AI assistant that's able to intuit human emotion and respond with empathy."
Friendly floating robot CIMON-2 headed for International Space Station
On Sunday, SpaceX's Dragon capsule will dock at the International Space Station, bringing supplies, experiments including "mighty mice" -- oh, and a friendly robot to keep the astronauts company for the next three years. © DLR (CC-BY 3.0) CIMON-2 is joining astronauts on the International Space Station. CIMON-2 is the next generation of the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion. The robot was built by Airbus at the German Aerospace Center and uses IBM artificial intelligence based on Watson technology.
While such a technology would prove itself useful by being able to anticipate the needs of crew members and "intervene if their mental health is at stake," it has the potential to be life-saving when humans choose to explore beyond Earth's gravitational field and towards deep space.
An AI assistant with empathy could be exactly what's needed to provide emotional support for astronauts on deep-space missions to Mars.
— MIT Technology Review (@techreview)
January 15, 2020
Though astronauts currently on the International Space Station have an intelligent robot to interact with called CIMON, it lacks proper emotional intelligence according to NASA CTO Tom Soderstrom. As a result, a team at the organization's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a more sophisticated emotional support companion that can control a spacecraft's functioning in addition to tracking crew member's behaviors.
Scientists created living robots out of stem cells
Scientists have created a new life form that's something between a frog and a robot. Using stem cells scraped from frog embryos, researchers from the University of Vermont (UVM) and Tufts University assembled "xenobots." The millimeter-wide blobs act like living, self-healing robots. They can walk, swim and work cooperatively. Refined, they could be used inside the human body to reprogram tumors, deliver drugs or scrape plaque out of arteries. "These are novel living machines," says Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist and robotics expert at UVM who co-led the new research. "They're neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal.
Right now in the lab, an AI-equipped robot called Henry the Helper can be found meandering around the grounds assisting visitors who appear confused or lost based on their facial expression. Two more emotionally intelligent prototype bots are expected to be introduced later this year, one of which is said to be able to participate in conversations more complex than giving navigation assistance.
The team's final goal is to make a companion named Fiona the Future a reality, an emotionally intelligent cross-platform system. Rather than being confined to a physical robotic device, it could be digitally integrated into space stations and habitats on Mars and beyond. Fiona, if all goes according to the JPL's plans, will help keep astronauts of the future stay mentally fit as they embark on their journeys to deep space.
U.S. Police Already Using 'Spot' Robot From Boston Dynamics in the Real World .
Massachusetts State Police (MSP) has been quietly testing ways to use the four-legged Boston Dynamics robot known as Spot, according to new documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. And while Spot isn’t equipped with a weapon just yet, the documents provide a terrifying peek at our RoboCop future. The Spot robot, which was officially made available for lease to businesses last month, has been in use by MSP since at least April 2019 and has engaged in at least two police “incidents,” though it’s not clear what those incidents may have been.