VideosHand (5.3 M)
Telepresence (3.3 M)
Arm motion (2.9 M)
Grasping (2.1 M)
Tether hook (1.9 M)
Velcro (2.7 M)
SurveyHumanoid robots around the world
The Shape of Things to Come
We're using a humanoid shape to meet NASA's increasing requirements for Extravehicular Activity (EVA, or spacewalks). Over the past five decades, space flight hardware has been designed for human servicing.Space walks are planned for most of the assembly missions for the International Space Station, and they are a key contingency for resolving on-orbit failures. Combined with our substantial investmentin EVA tools, this accumulation of equipment requiring a humanoid shapeand an assumed level of human performance presents a unique opportunityfor a humanoid system.
While the depth and breadth of human performance is beyond the current state of the art in robotics, NASA targeted the reduced dexterity and performance of a suited astronaut as Robonaut's design goals, specifically using the work envelope, ranges of motion, strength and endurance capabilities of space walking humans. This Web site describes the design effort for the entire Robonaut system, including mechanisms, avionics, computational architecture and telepresence control.
The manipulator and dexterous hand have been developed with asubstantial investment in mechatronics design. The arm structure has embedded avionics elements within each link, reducing cabling and noise contamination. Unlike some systems, Robonaut uses a chordate approach to data management, bringing all feedback to a central nervous system,where even low-level servo control is performed. This biologically inspired neurological approach is extended to left-right computational symmetry, sensor and power duality and kinematical redundancy, enabling learning and optimization in mechanical, electrical and software forms.
Sensors and Telepresence Control
Robonaut's broad mix of sensors includes thermal, position, tactile,force and torque instrumentation, with over 150 sensors per arm. The control system for Robonaut includes an onboard, real time CPU with miniature data acquisition and power management in a small,environmentally hardened body. Off-board guidance is delivered with human supervision using a telepresence control station with human tracking.