"NASA/KSC has a requirement for a 5'9" Life-Like Robot, brand-name Engineered Arts Limited, RoboThespian, or equal. The solicitation (14 pages) is attached and includes: terms and conditions of order, salient characteristics for life-like robot, and questions/answers to inquiries about the Request for Information (RFI) that was previously posted."
Keith's 12 July note: I will be the last person to say that NASA does not need to enhance the way that it interacts with the public. The cooler that interaction is, the more you are going to reach people in a memorable way. I have no doubt that RoboThespian is cool. But at a time when NASA is off developing a real (and much, much cooler) robot that will work in space (Robonaut) why not try and use something that resembles actual NASA robots to do education and public outreach? RoboThespian is manufactured overseas in the UK (Cornwall). Quite frankly, at a cost of between $54,000 to $119,000 wouldn't you think that KSC could find an American company that offers something that will fit the bill? Indeed, Disney World is an hour west of KSC in Orlando and they have lots of animatronic robots - indeed, its their specialty.
Maybe we could get RoboThespian and Robobaut 2 to compete for the job ... like they do on Futurama. Imagine some good old robot-on-robot action in the ring. In one corner, RoboThespian, armed with his thesaurus and his fancy accent, and in the other corner, Robonaut 2 armed with ... power tools. Hmmm .. what would Bender do?
Keith's update: NASA KSC decided to buy the Cornish robot. I wonder if KSC could (if asked) actually provide the requirements for this acquisition - requirements that clearly show that only this Cornish droid meets their requirements - and that there was no domestic sources that could also do so. Let's see if DFRC goes ahead with its plan to buy Ethnically Diverse Cylons.