NASA has Launched a sort of HAL-like Robot to help an Astronaut on the ISS
This morning I had the pleasure to watch the SpaceX cargo ship berth with the International Space Station on NASA TV. It began at 8 AM CDT and lasted 52 minutes total. The cargo ship was retrieved with the Canadian robotic arm and then slowly moved by inches to the docking port on the ISS and finally attached after being properly aligned with six bolts. The recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 launched on Friday, June 29, with the first Artificially Intelligent Robot into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The AI robot is named CIMON (pronounced Simon). It is an acronym for Crew Interactive MObile companioN.
The CIMON Robot is basketball sized and is primarily intended to act as a companion and assistant with German astronaut Alexander Gerst. It has a cartoon face. The designers say will be used to interact with humans on the ISS.
Airbus developed CIMON for Germany’s national space agency. The Artificial Intelligence is provided by IBM’s Watson. While the experiment will be conducted primarily with Gerst, CIMON is expected to interact with any astronaut that calls it’s name.
According to Matthias Biniok, an engineer for IBM and one of the lead architects behind CIMON’s Artificial Intelligence, “the concept of CIMON was inspired by a 197os science fiction comic series set in space, about a sentient, brain shaped robot named Prof. Simon that mentors an astronaut named Captain Future.”
CIMON is trained to identify its environment and human partners. Watson’s AI gives it text, speech, and image processing capabilities, and the ability to retrieve information and findings. CIMON’s knowledge resides in IBM’s secure cloud. That information is available to only the CIMON group and not even IBM has availability to it.
Elon Musk’s Falcon 9’s are currently under contract with NASA for 20 missions and six additional missions in the next phase. The Falcon 9 is the only cargo vessel they can return to earth without burning up in the atmosphere.
As the mission continues, you can follow it on the NASA TV Channel.
From the SpaceX website. Dragon