2 min read

A ball-shaped robot named CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) joined the crew members for the SpaceX 15’s launch of Falcon 9, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), two days ago.

The robot is created to see if a bot with AI capabilities can boost the efficiency and morale of the crew while on longer missions. It has been built by IBM in conjunction with the German Aerospace Center. It is led by Alexander Gerst, DLR Astronaut.

Source: SciNews

Let’s have a look at CIMON’s functionalities and features.

  • The AI robot comes with a language user interface which enables it to respond to spoken commands.
  • It displays repair instructions on screen with a voice command. This keeps astronaut’s hands- free.
  • It is also capable of displaying procedures for experiments, thereby, serving as the space station’s voice-controlled database.
  • ISS performs tasks and activities which are quite complicated in nature, so AI robot can help with that.
  • The AI bot can be easily called upon by astronauts for assistance. For instance, astronauts can ask the robot to display certain documents and media in their field of view. They can also ask CIMON to record or playback experiments with its onboard camera.
  • CIMON is capable of sensing the tone of conversation among the crew. In fact, its behavior is quite similar to R2D2. It can also quote dialogues from famous movies like E.T. the extraterrestrial.
  • It can move freely and perform rotational movements like shaking the head back and forth indicating disapproval.

Key Features:

  • The AI bot is ball-shaped with a flattened surface. It has of no sharp edges which makes it a safe equipment for the crew.
  • It comes with 12 internal fans which allow it move in all directions.
  • It is programmed with an ISTJ personality i.e. introverted, sensing, thinking and judging.
  • It comes equipped with a kill switch.
  • IBM’s Watson Technology is used for CIMON’S AI language and comprehension system.
  • It costs less than 6 million dollars. And it took less than 2 years for the AI bot to develop.

The SpaceX 15’s launch of Falcon 9 that took place on 29th June was successful, and CIMON is now undergoing astronaut assistant training. To know more, check out the official post by NASA.

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