NASA has rather ambitious space-explorations plans for the coming decades. The agency intends to put an actual human on Mars in 2035, something which may as yet sound like a far-fetched notion but may well become a reality soon.
And to make it a reality, NASA is spending a whopping $2.7 million to help start eight advanced robotics projects. These projects are themed so that they will help the long-term Mars dream by advancing the robot technology over the years.
The eight projects have been short-listed from a host of project proposals that NASA received from U.S. universities. Among the selected projects are those related to tele-manipulation of humanoid robots, development of human avatar robots and continuum robots.
The work on these projects will also help make robots more viable and practical to work alongside humans. According to NASA’s National Robotics Initiative website, “Where robots were once kept in cages and separated from people, we are now seeing robots built to co-exist with humans, helping people at work and throughout society. The NRI is targeting these new machines that will work with humans as co-workers, co-explorers, co-inhabitants, co-drivers, creating and capturing the new discipline of co-robotics.”
The eight projects, each of which will be funded up to $1 million, will deal with a number of overlapping fields and find ways to incorporate robotics in these fields.