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Can You Help NASA’s Robot Astronaut Improve Its Performance?

The agency announced a competition that will award $10,000 in prizes to the person or team who can enhance the sight and dexterity of Robonaut 2, who works on the International Space Station.

What’s the Latest Development?

On Monday, NASA launched the $10,000 Robonaut Challenge, inviting developers to try their hand at improving the functions of Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot currently working on the International Space Station. The challenge consists of two competitions, each of which will run for three weeks. In the first one, contestants must write an algorithm that will allow Robonaut 2 to locate and understand various dashboard components and their on/off status. In the second, contestants must use the algorithm to write code that controls Robonaut 2’s hands.

What’s the Big Idea?

Robonaut 2 went to the space station in 2011 as a passenger on the space shuttle Discovery’s last flight. Since then, it’s been able to perform basic tasks, but NASA thinks it has the potential to do more. The Robonaut Challenge is the latest in a series of contests run by the agency in cooperation with the open innovation platform TopCoder to enlist the public’s help in developing space technology solutions. In this case, the goal is to enable Robonaut 2 to make life easier for the the humans it lives with by taking on a greater share of the work.

Photo Credit: NASA

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