Home > Blog > Posts Tagged "Robonaut"

Where in the World is the Robonaut Today?

Posted on: No Comments

Last year we shared how Digi helped NASA’s Robonaut go wireless. Since then, NASA’s robot has undergone a series of upgrades. Just last month, SpaceX delivered legs that will be mounted to the Robonaut, so that it can move around the station, making it even more valuable to the ISS crew. There are even new products being spun off from the original design like the Robo-Glove. Here are a few Robonaut-related articles that have been published recently to get you up to speed on the ISS’s newest crew member.

robonaut2-trailer-02-21-2011
NASA Upgrades Humanoid Robot in Space | Computer World
“The 300-pound humanoid robot working on the International Space Station is in the midst of getting a series of upgrades, including new processors and software, in preparation of having a pair of legs attached to it.”

NASA’s Robo-Glove Up for License for Iron Man and You | Slash Gear
“The glove is made to amplify the abilities of the wearer, not entirely unlike that of the glove of Iron Man in the Marvel Comics universe. This glove allows its user to blast through tasks that require high hand strength – grasping and repetitive tasks especially.”

Robonaut Upgrades, Spacewalk Preps & Cargo Ops for Station Crew | Product Design and Development
“For the next phase of testing, Robonaut will be outfitted with a pair of climbing legs to enable it to move around the station. These legs, which are equipped with end effectors to allow them to grip handrails and sockets, were delivered to the station during the SpaceX-3 cargo mission in April.”

Google Tech to Bring 3D Mapping Smarts to NASA’s Space Station Robots | Computer World
“Google said Thursday that its Project Tango team is collaborating with scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center to integrate the company’s new 3D technology into a robotic platform that will work inside the space station. The integrated technology has been dubbed SPHERES, which stands for Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites.”

Have you found an interesting article about the Robonaut? Share it with us on Twitter at @digidotcom using the hashtag #Robonaut. You can also learn more about how Digi enabled Wi-Fi communication in our NASA customer story, here.

Highlights from Robotics Week 2014

Happy National Robotics Week! This week, we came across tons of fun stories and articles showcasing robots and the amazing things they are doing for us. Here are some of our favorites from a week filled with tons of robo-stories, which include an update on NASA’s Robonaut, a kangaroo robot, and even robots made out of paper!

Festo Bionic Kangaroo

10 Heroes of Robot History | Enable Education

[Video] How Robots Are Making Us Happier | FW Thinking

NASA’s Robonaut Scrubs Up for Space Surgery | BBC

Pneumatics Give This Robot Kagaroo a Bounce | Wired

MIT is Destroying the Cost of Robotics by Building Robots out of Paper | Business Insider

Let us know what you enjoyed most about Robotics Week by tweeting us at @DigiDotCom and check out the hashtag #RoboticsWeek for more news and articles.

Digi Goes to Space

Posted on: No Comments

NASA’s Robonaut is quickly becoming a valuable addition to the International Space Station(ISS) . The robot is able to perform routine maintenance tasks and dangerous operations, freeing astronauts to focus on research and make the most of their limited time.  The second-generation Robonaut(R2), is currently deployed on the ISS.   RobonautWeight

One problem still persisted with the Robonaut- wires were required for power and control. NASA reached out to Digi to help alleviate this constraint.  Using a Digi ConnectCore Wi-i.MX53 and a battery stored in its backpack, the Robonaut is now controlled over a Wi-Fi connection and all wires have been eliminated. This allows the Robonaut to be controlled by ISS crew members as well as from NASA Mission Control Center on Earth.

The ConnectCore module is already qualified for extreme industrial environments, but additional testing was needed to simulate the conditions of space. Independent testing for temperature, vibration, and shock were all performed to ensure the module could survive the trip to outer space.

The Wi-Fi connectivity brings about a number of benefits in addition to wireless control. Video can now be transmitted from the four cameras mounted on the Robonaut- two on the torso and two on the legs. Additionally, a number of  data points are logged and stored on an SD card, which can be viewed by the ISS crew and ground personnel to monitor the robot’s performance.

Going forward, NASA hopes to make more upgrades to the Robonaut that allow it to assist crew members on space walks! And take a look at the video posted below, which is a nice overview of the Robonaut project.

Create Your Own Outcome: Easton LaChappelle Reinvents the Conventional Prosthesis

Posted on: No Comments

Colorado 17-year-old Easton LaChappelle is on a mission to change the world with his XBee enabled prosthesis.

“I’m from a small town. This year’s graduating class had 23 people. The nearest Radio Shack is an hour away. I had to find my own thing to do—which was good. I just wanted to make something useful.” Easton said in a casual and confident voice. “Last week I spoke to 2,000 people at TEDx, this is what I’m meant to do.”

TEDx is just one of the endeavors Easton has taken on, his Kickstarter campaign raised over $18,000 in 30 days, he’s been to the White House, shaken hands with the President of the United States and landed work with NASA.

What started out as a simple glove with flex sensors is now on it’s way to becoming one of the world’s most advanced prosthesis with a waiting list of 300 amputees.

Easton and one version of the robotic arm

Here’s how Easton, at 17 years old, is making his mark on the world.

At 14, Easton tapped into his desire to take things apart and put them back together in a new way. With an Arduino and direction from online communities like Instructables, SparkFun and Hack a day, Easton has self-taught himself how to build with electronics and how to program the electronics.

He came up with the idea to create a wireless hand that’s controlled by a glove. “I found flex sensors and sewed them onto a glove. I made my own custom PCB boards, a custom servo shield. Then, I added XBee modules. The wireless transceivers makes the project much better.”

While Easton’s drive paired with his cool and collected personality make the road to his accomplishments look easy, he admits that he had to learn a lot—from configuring XBees to programming the system.

While Easton has had a lot to learn, he has a distinct goal in mind. In his own words, he’s “reinventing the conventional prosthesis.”

“I wanted to make an arm that was lighter than a humans, but had the same strength– all the way up to the shoulder. I’ve achieved all of that for a low price,” Easton explained. “The other half is the control system. It uses a wireless brain EEG headset that picks up 10 different channels of your brain.”

The next generation of the hand can sustain 50 pounds of weight on an individual finger. Accessibility is key, so Easton has worked to get the price down to about $400 by using 3-D printers to bring his designs to life.

Easton’s work with robotics doesn’t stop at reinventing conventional prosthetics, he’s also interning with NASA. At NASA, he’s working on mechanical design and a tele-robotic arm. The project he’s working on, the Robonaut, which also uses Digi products, mocks human movements to perform maintenance tasks or duties that are dangerous for astronauts.

So what’s next for Easton? He’s sticking to his goal of helping people with prostheses. In the next two weeks, the first arm will officially be used as a working prosthesis. Easton plans on continuing to do public talks and share his work with the world. “Inspiring younger people is my way of giving back,” he says.

While many 17 years olds are focused on college, Easton has seen school as a hurdle. While he has a number of full ride offers, he doesn’t know if he’ll be attending college immediately.

Easton explains that he’ll be “getting his senior year out of the way” and continuing to work on prosthetics. “Kickstarter proved that there is a market, so now I’m going to work to fill that need. Education systems have boundaries, and you don’t always have to work within the boundaries of systems. You can do things to achieve your own outcomes, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Contact a Digi expert and get started today! CONTACT US