NASA buys life-like humanoid as tour guide

September 15th, 2010 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 15 (IANS) A life-like robot, which speaks more than a dozen languages and has a pawky sense of humour, has been bought by NASA to become a robotic tour guide.
The robot named RoboThespian is powered by compressed air with sinews of aluminium.

It was fabricated by Cornish firm Engineered Arts in Britain that has only seven members of staff, reports the Daily Mail.

Unlike his more masculine R2 Robonaut, which will be sent to the International Space Station later this year, RoboThespian will remain firmly earth-bound.

The RoboThespian comes in three variations - the Lite, Standard and Deluxe versions. It can also be hired for events.

On the firm’s website, the Deluxe version comes in at 79,500 pounds, which gives access to all of the robot’s more advanced features such as powered legs and customisable content.

Nasa is to pay 70,520 pounds for the robot to guide visitors around its Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.

RoboThespian comes with standard greetings and impressions, to which you can add your own recorded sequences or bespoke content.

RoboThespian made its official debut at the Association of Science-Technology Centres conference in Los Angeles in 2007 where it performed in a series of film clips and interacted with the audience.

It comes with a touchscreen interface that lets users pre-programme a series of movements.

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