New Collaboration Explores Development of Robotic Manipulator for Space Stations

Olis Robotics, a company specializing in sophisticated mobile remote robotics software, has recently signed a new agreement with Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI).

An artist’s conception shows a Mantis robotic arm at work on Tethers Unlimited’s Refabricator 3D printer and recycler. (Image credit: Tethers Unlimited/Olis Robotics Illustration)

TUI is a leader in innovative systems and high-performance components for space applications.

Both technology leaders, based in Washington, signed a new deal to exploit their unique software and hardware know-how so as to explore the development of a novel remotely operated robotic product. Such a product can be useful for upcoming space habitats or can be used to address the unmet needs of current operations aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Olis Robotics’ machine learning and artificial intelligence technology will set the standard for robotics leading future space exploration. Our variable autonomy software platform allows operators anywhere in the world to command new levels of precision, safety, and efficiency in remotely operating robotics in space.

Don Pickering, CEO, Olis Robotics

Pickering continued, “we’re solving the challenges of providing remote operators safe, reliable, and efficient command and control capability over communication channels with time delay and dropouts. The technological leap will be mandatory, especially for manipulators in space.”

The new partnership follows a number of successful collaborations between the two technology stalwarts. In the past one year, Olis Robotics extended its support to TUI’s NASA-funded MANTIS and FabLab programs by offering improved command and control capability for TUI’s advanced Kraken robotic manipulator product range. Through Olis Robotics’ platform, robots can carry out certain tasks autonomously, while reducing operator workload on other tasks. The result is safer and more efficient operation.

Our collaboration with Olis Robotics will integrate advanced teleoperation and variable autonomy capabilities into our KRAKEN Arm and MANTIS payload, providing the ability to offload menial, repetitive tasks from the astronauts to remote operators. Imagine how much more science we can get out of the ISS if we can have a graduate student in a lab controlling experiments that currently we’d need to wait weeks or months to have an astronaut do.

Dr Rob Hoyt, President and CEO, Tethers Unlimited, Inc.

Dr Hoyt continued, “we expect this collaborative effort to enable lower costs when performing existing operations, address the needs of future space habitats, and help enable humanity to be a space-faring society.”

Olis Robotics and TUI will make the best use of their sophisticated technologies to allow a market-focused product that would give operators the potential to remotely perform in-space experiments, and would also allow them to test materials and manufacturing procedures. This collaboration is anticipated to create a feasible remotely operated robotic solution for space habitats like the International Space Station as early as next year.

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