reply to post by NGC2736
Abstract - This paper presents a vision of humanoid robots as human’s key partners in future space exploration, in particular for construction,
maintenance/repair and operation of lunar/planetary habitats, bases and settlements. It integrates this vision with the recent plans ,for human and
robotic exploration, aligning a set of milestones for operational capability of humanoids with the schedule for the next decades and development
spirals in the Project Constellation.
These milestones relate to a set of incremental challenges, for the solving of which new humanoid technologies are needed. A system of systems
integrative approach that would lead to readiness of cooperating humanoid crews is sketched.
Robot fostering, training/education techniques, and improved cognitive/sensory/motor development techniques are considered essential elements for
achieving intelligent humanoids. A pilot project in this direction is outlined.
I found several parts of this document very interesting:
PDF page 1:
The exploration plan starts with human returns to Moon as a stepping stone
for future missions to Mars.
Spiral 1 addresses the first crewed CEV flight in LEO, by
2014 (more recent plan target an earlier date, perhaps as
early as 2011); Spiral 2, the first human lunar return, by
2020; Spiral 3, the Moon as a testbed for Mars, by -2023;
Spiral 4, the deployment of launch vehicle for Mars
exploration, by -2026; Spiral 5, the development of
interplanetary transportation vehicle and support
infrastructure that could take humans to Mars and beyond,
by -2029; and Spiral 6, the deployment of transformational
new systems for surface access and operations to enable human excursions
to the surface of Mars, after 2030.
PDF page 2:
Recent studies also show additional advantages of humanoids, summarized here after:
a) Human interaction with robots is easier if the robots
b) Robot acceptance by humans is easier for humanoid
c) Efficiency of teaching/programming a robot is highest with humanoids.
In particular related to the later aspect, one should stress here that although mobility, flexibility and adaptation to human environments offered by
human shape is a convenient advantage, the key reason for preferring humanoids is their optimal shape for being taught by humans and learning from
humans, considered the most effective ways to develop cognitive and perceptual / motor skills for truly intelligent, cognitive
PDF page 3:
The MIT pioneering work on COG and other anthropomorphic robots is significant, in particular efforts in the last few years from Cynthia Breazeal and
collaborators exploring human-oriented interactions with
these robots. On the other hand, there is much more out there in other research fields that can be ported and integrated to the humanoid body to
provide a powerful platform to develop it to operational levels.
Examples of several technologies available, yet not well incorporated in humanoids include: lanauage technologies. including voice recognition, speech
to text and voice synthesis, which are sufficiently developed to allow simple interaction with the robot in spoken English (simple Japanese exists in
some research robots); face/gesture recognition, sufficiently developed to allow robots to read “moods” of instructor, follow cues, etc (as
prototyped e.g. on some MIT robots);
PDF page 6:
Plan for 2006-2009:full-size demonstration of a realistic structure assembly in lab. A natural continuation of this effort after a successful
demonstration of the 2005 demo phase would be an effort to demonstrate a humanoid team; each human-size robot able to walk inside buildings, transport
objects (select/lift/transport/place in right position), climb
ladders/scaffolds/tables and assemble modular components.
Humanoids could play a key role in lunar and planetary surface missions, starting with construction of habitats. The appropriate beginning of
insertion of humanoid technology into missions is 2023 - 2030 timeframe. To be ready in time we need to start now. Initial results in using a
small-scale humanoid to perform tasks.