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AI Robot CIMON Debuts at International Space Station
German astronaut Alexander Gerst talked with the artificially intelligent crew-assistant CIMONduring a 90-minute experiment on Nov. 15 aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
During the experiment, CIMON successfully found and recognized Gerst's face, took photos and video, positioned itself autonomously within the Columbus module using its ultrasonic sensors, and issued instructions for Gerst to perform a student-designed experiment with crystals.
The computer provides a tailored answer to an astronaut's query, and this answer is then converted into speech and beamed back to the ISS.
Marco Trovatello, a spokesman of the European Space Agency's Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, told Space.com that CIMON could respond within a couple of seconds after a question was asked, no slower than in ground-based tests.
"CIMON is a technology demonstration of what a future AI-based assistant on the International Space Station or on a future, longer-term exploration mission would look like,"
The spherical robot has a large screen at the center that either features a simple, friendly, cartoon-like face or displays required information for experiments and repairs.
With its ability to float around and receive spoken commands, CIMON could save astronauts a lot of time during experiments and help them perform more efficiently, officials said.
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Its voice and simplified facial animations are intended to make CIMON a feel more like a colleague than a computer, and were designed using voice samples and photos of astronaut Dr. Alexander Gerst, who will be testing CIMON on the ISS during the European Space Agency’s Horizons mission, which will be carried out from June to October of this year.
While on ISS, CIMON will help Gerst carry out three specific trials: an experiment with crystals, a complex medical experiment using CIMON as an ‘intelligent’ flying camera, and the two will also work to solve a Rubik’s cube (without unsticking the little colored stickers and putting them back in place).
Aerospace researchers plan to add capabilities to CIMON in the medium term to support projects like examining group effects developing in small teams working over a long period of time in space to project dynamics that may arise during long-term missions to the Moon or Mars.
WATCH: CIMON, first AI robot in space, accuses astronaut of ‘not being nice’
About 4:08 mark of the video, CIMON starts to act up when the astronaut asks him to stop talking about music and continue with live stream from the front camea.
While no further sessions are planned during the Horizons mission at this stage, it could mark the beginning of exciting collaboration between astronauts, robotic assistants and possible future artificial intelligence in space,”
Its main aim is to support and increase astronaut efficiency by displaying and explaining information needed to carry out scientific experiments and repairs,”
“Other applications include mobile photography and videography and the ability to document experiments, search for objects and maintain an inventory.
Cimon can also see, hear and understand what it observes and is equipped with an autonomous navigation system, allowing Alexander to issue voice commands like you would to virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri or Cortana on the ground,”
- On Friday, May 29, 2020
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