Because space is a risky business, NASA is testing out a prototype called Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station. The robot is occasionally used to carry out simple simulated procedures such as flipping switches or turning dials, which could free up astronaut time. In the future, NASA may use such robots for spacewalks.
While we wait around for space robots to become C-3PO or Data, we have a rare chance to look back in robotics history courtesy of an auction on Sept. 26. Up for sale is an old NASA robot that was used to test space suits in 1962, just at the dawn of the human space program. It was able to simulate 35 basic human motions and give engineers information on what forces the person would experience while wearing the garment.
RELATED: Robonaut 2 Waltzes With New Legs
Engineers also had a little fun with the robot, getting it to do "the twist" (aren't we dating ourselves here) and also mimic Elvis Presley's famous pelvic movements. This is only one of two such robots ever made; this one came from the University of Maryland, and the other is in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.