Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have been joined by an AI robot called CIMON. The current ISS commander, German astronaut Alexander Gerst, was first to speak with CIMON. Gerst said "Wake up, CIMON" which prompted the robot to respond "What can I do for you?" CIMON and Gerst's first assignment was to perform a student-designed experiment with crystals. The robot, after recognising Gerst's face and positioning itself autonomously, provided instructions on how to conduct the experiment. On Earth, CIMON weight just five kilograms and was designed by Airbus.
Whether or not virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa actually make our lives better is debatable to say the least. Is navigating the myriad of voice cues really faster or more convenient than just tapping on your smartphone screen a few times? Whichever side of the issue you fall on, it's clear that AI is here to stay, so the European Space Agency is planning to embrace it with a fancy virtual assistant of its own, and it's headed to the International Space Station this year.
Late in June, a SpaceX Dragon rocket took off for the International Space Station. A small, spherical robot equipped with artificial intelligence. If it seems like something out of a science fiction it's for good reason. No other AI robot has ever been launched into space, making it the perfect plot inspiration for a film. The purpose of the robot is to assist astronauts on the International Space Station with any number of tasks.
An artificial intelligence-powered robot tasked with assisting astronauts was launched into space for the first time ever Friday to join the crew of the International Space Station. Roughly the size of a volleyball and weighing 5 kilograms, CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) will float through the zero-gravity environment of the space station because of a system of fans. CIMON is able to answer voice commands and can research a database of information about the ISS. The robot can even assess the moods of its human crewmates and interact with them accordingly. "An observational pilot study with the [CIMON] aims to provide first insights into the effects of crew support from an artificial intelligence in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space," NASA said in a statement Friday after the successful launch.