Nathaniel Quillin, a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, helped develop NASA’s ‘Robonaut 2’ (R2), a humanoid robot.
The robot has been launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery and will be a resident at the International Space Station (ISS).
The sophomore was part of the Robonaut 2 research team, and wrote the code for debugging R2’s hardware and the graphical user interface for controlling the R2. The software enables the controllers to visualize in three-dimensions the commands to be executed by the robot, prior to its execution.
A collaborative project between General Motors and NASA, the Robonaut 2 has been designed to work like a human. It also looks human. R2 has capabilities similar to that of human astronauts, with hands and arms like humans. The R2 robot is in its prototype stage and does not have the capability, as yet, to withstand the extreme temperatures outside the space station. In the future, the humanoid may perform spacewalks and assist astronauts in dangerous tasks difficult for humans.