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Science & Technology

NASA reveals new footage of its Valkyrie robot

By T.K. Randall
June 18, 2017 · Comment icon 11 comments

Is this the future of Mars exploration ? Image Credit: NASA / Bill Stafford
The futuristic humanoid contraption is being designed to operate autonomously on the surface of Mars.
Footage of the robot in action, which was recorded during a recent test at the Johnson Space Center, shows Valkryie effortlessly stepping across a room filled with concrete blocks.

Equipped with 200 sensors in its head, shoulders, abdomen and legs, it can effectively pick out obstacles and uneven terrain so that it can move forward without falling over anything.

On its website, NASA describes Valkyrie as "a robust, rugged, entirely electric humanoid robot capable of operating in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments."

The test footage, which was uploaded a few days ago, can be viewed below.

Source: Sputnik International | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
the Japanese Asimo robot far outshines that clunky slow thing!    
Comment icon #3 Posted by b0wn 7 years ago
Thought it was in slow motion for a second.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew 7 years ago
I was thinking the same thing, a quadruped or even a hexapod insect like design would be inherently more stable and you could eliminated the stabilizers necessary in a bipedal robot. The energy needed for balancing could be used instead for locomotion. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by highdesert50 7 years ago
Learning by imitation provides a method that will allow more complex robots to learn by observation. Hence we see the human-like robot. The parallel format also allows for measuring of human dynamics in unknown environments.
Comment icon #6 Posted by keithisco 7 years ago
I'm not entirely sure that I understand your post. Is it not easier to build a robot that is inherently stable by having 4 or more points of contact with the surface (I don't think tree-climbing skills will be necessary). A humanoid robot requires multiple accelerometers, servo-motors, proximity sensors, and multiple attitude sensors to remain upright and just walk. Lowering the centre of gravity and distributing the weight between 4 (or more) "legs" makes better, and simpler, engineering sense.   
Comment icon #7 Posted by BeastieRunner 7 years ago
That latter part of what he said: That is the primary driver here. Seeing human-like movements and designs in unknown environments allows us to extrapolate the data and even prepare for new places. If we see a human-like robot struggle on Mars with daily tasks, we can better pepare future humans for said tasks.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Parsec 7 years ago
  The answer to both lies in the article itself: So key words are human-engineered environment, meaning that it has to interact efficiently in an environment designed to be used by humans (so which best shape than humanoid?) and rugged, that unfortunately, so far, we can't say about Asimo.    If I remember correctly they plan (or at least planned) to use it first on the ISS and that would be awesome to see! 
Comment icon #9 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
  Asimo is built to look good.... it can easy be outfitted for ruggedness....the point I make about that its the most advanced robot in the terms of intelligence, movement and dexterity...its just clad in plastic to look good. Point being, it has the technology needed and as seen in the vids, you could be forgiven a small man was inside it.... for Mars...  just dress it up differently.....change a few of its programmes...adding ruggedness is the easy bit      
Comment icon #10 Posted by highdesert50 7 years ago
Sorry, I should have provided more clarity with regard to imitation learning. Imitation learning is a method, for example, where a child might observe an adult to learn a particular activity. In the case of a machine, explicit and tedious programing is minimized or even eliminated by allowing the machine to more implicitly observe the activity in a natural way and learn. This robotics approach is not new and has been researched for at least a couple of decades. And, as mentioned, the benefits are then reciprocal with regard to application to humans.
Comment icon #11 Posted by atom2084 7 years ago
It didn't take long for someone to make that will popular comment about hope the Japanese do things better.  I think the Asimo robot is excellent as well, but it spends most of its time dancing like Michael Jackson hahaha.

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