New reports of an Indian space bot in development reveal part of the nation’s strategy for innovating space travel with its national Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), an agency creating compelling programs when it comes to re-invigorating our journey toward the stars.
Along with a third lunar mission after one that was unsuccessful last year, the Indian government is reportedly developing a robot named Vyommitra who will accompany astronauts into space.
Journalist Nagarjun Dwarakanath tweeted about the project yesterday, and at a media event in Bengaluru, the ISRO showed off what Vyommitra can do.
“I can be your companion and converse with the astronauts, recognize them and also respond to their queries,” Vyommitra reportedly said, speaking up for herself.
Although Vyommitra is not the first robot to going to space her decidedly humanoid features and impressive conversational technology bring to mind other examples like Saudi Arabia’s Sophia – sophisticated cutting-edge robots who are destined to become our future colleagues and pals.
Although some may find Vyommitra chillingly “humanoid” in her demeanor, she’s not as fully emulating the human anatomically.
“While Vyommitra can chat with astronauts, she’s not built to be just like them,” writes Bonnie Burton at CNet, describing the non-human agent as a “legless female humanoid robot” and illustrating some of Vyommitra’s physical limitations. “The robot doesn’t even have a full human-like body.”
ISRO scientist Sam Dayal, speaking to India today, elaborated, as present in Burton’s coverage:
“It’s called a half humanoid because it doesn’t have legs,” Dayal said. “It can only bend sidewards and forward. It will carry out certain experiments and will always remain in touch with the ISRO command center.”
As for her presentation, in a distributed video from the event, where planners talk about her prowess, Vyommitra also states to the audience that she can help with “switch panel operations … (and) life support operations.”