Is JSC's R5 Droid Worth Fixing?

NASA wants to make a C-3PO to help colonize Mars, which may not be a super idea, Wired

"OK, but why use a bipedal robot at all? "We're talking about sending robots to Mars, so is a walking robot best?" asks Keith Cowing, who runs the blog NASAWatch. "If you're just landing in a flat area, why can't it have treads and arms?" Or, if you want the dexterity that legs allow, he suggests putting some arms on a four-legged model, like one of Boston Dynamics' other creations. Cowing isn't an android-hater: He just thinks NASA could do a better job prioritizing its exploratory efforts. If prepping a Mars settlement is NASA's goal, robots are far from the only optionand they could be one of the least efficient. Cowing points out that automated inflating shelters, adapted from emergency response, could be more viable than using human-sized robots to build space shacks from scratch."

Using a Last Place Robot for NASA's Robotics Challenge, earlier post

Keith's note: The R5 robot aka "Valkyrie" was developed in semi-secret by NASA JSC. Several years ago it tied for dead last in the previous DARPA challenge and can't compete this week. But JPL's Robosimian did much better last time and is competing again this year. So ... why is NASA investing all this money in R5, a last place robot design? Why not go with Robosimian instead? Or ... is NASA hoping that external teams, freed (somewhat) from internal NASA issues, might be able to rescue Valkyrie from all of its problems? If so, then maybe that's not so bad of an idea. But why does NASA need to make the R5 copies for people to use? Why not just open source the design and post it online so that others can build (and improve upon) it? After all, taxpayers paid for it. That way you get more R5 units.

- Never Ask NASA a Simple Question, earlier post
- NASA Awards Two Robots to University Groups for R&D Upgrades, earlier post
- Does NASA Have a Robotics Strategy? Did It Ever Have One?, earlier post
- NASA JSC Has Developed A Girl Robot in Secret (Revised With NASA Responses), earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on November 19, 2015 11:28 AM.

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