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The US Space Agency, NASA is looking forward to fly its humanoid robot, dubbed Valkyrie, out to deep space, but before such a thing happen, the agency is willing to show off some of its human-like mannerisms.
Also named ‘R5’, the robot was displayed in a minute-plus long recording, wherein it was moving its head, bending its fingers, raising its arms, walking, warming up its biceps, and yes, was taking a picture of its own. In the name, ‘R’ stands for ‘Robonaut’, and ‘5’ signifies that it’s the robonaut’s fifth edition.
In the video, after nearly 45 seconds, Valkyrie has been also shown making what kind of seems like the signature ‘praying mantis’ karate pose a la ‘The Karate Kid’. The robot has performed all these motions in harmony with electronica music.
NASA’s R5 Valkyrie humanoid robot is 6ft tall and 290lbs in weight. Initially, Valkyrie was created to provide help during disaster relief circumstances, but the space agency said that the robot has been repurposed for tours to deep space, such as a voyage to the Red Planet. NASA is likely to decide using Valkyrie, and other similar humanoids, for precursor missions before humans’ arrival, or as a kind of assistant to human crews.
In an announcement on November 17, the space agency said that it has awarded 2 R5 Valkyrie robots to MIT and Northeastern University to create better software for the robot to aid the agency finish missions on the Red Planet, on the basis of the experience of robotics researchers with Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge. DARPA was the US military's research arm funded two-and-a-half-year-long competition that came to an end in May.