NASA engineers are working on flexible, climbing legs for the robotic crewmember of Robonaut 2 (R2) currently legless robot stationed (quite permanently attatched to a support post) on the ISS for testing.
Robonaut has been stationed on the ISS since February 2011, undergoing experiments and trails with the more sentient crew. This will mark another milestone in space robotics
The new legs, funded by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology department, are still in development, designed to give the robot mobility in zero gravity. Giving the R2 mobility to navigate inside and outside the space station will give the crew more time for critical and scientific research.
The seven joined legs will give the robot a 9 feet extended leg span, have end effectors (it’s not so humanoid feet) able to grip handrails and sockets in and around the ISS. The end effectors are controlled by a vision system able to classify, navigate to and grasp the aforementioned grip points.
This research has led to future robot endeavors for space missions, such as exoskeletons designed to aid physical disabilities and strengthen astronauts.