The dancing robot Valkyrie has been invented by NASA researchers, who recently released a new video illustrating the humanoid’s incredible moves.
Experts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have so far spent $6 million designing Valkyrie, also known as R5 (Robonaut’s 5th version), initially with the aim of employing it in disaster relief operations, due to its ability of withstanding extreme conditions.
Now, its inventors at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are planning to revamp it for space exploration also, with the help of acclaimed university researchers, who have received sponsorships amounting to $500,000 solely for advancing this project.
The presentation video for the 6 foot-tall, 290-pound robot was posted on YouTube on November 30, and prominently features the American flag.
Throughout the course of the 1:44 minute film, the android robot which bears a shiny NASA logo on its chest can be seen moving its limbs to the sound of electronic music.
Valkyrie can move its head, up and down and left and right, bobbing it rapidly, seemingly in appreciation of the rhythm. It can also rotate its arms from the elbow, and even curl its fingers.
As the footage progresses, the robot, which is eerily reminiscent of the Iron Man, shows off even more complex motor skills, as it simultaneously waves its arms and shakes its legs, twisting and turning them.
Valkyrie also manages to easily keep its balance on one single foot, while expertly acting out the praying mantis Kung Fu stance, and is also filmed as it takes a few steps, albeit rather cautiously and clumsily.
Afterwards, it reveals another part of its repertoire, as it performs a few bodybuilder moves, such as the front lat spread and the front double biceps pose.
At the end of the demonstration, the robot even takes a courteous bow, apparently as a way of thanking the viewer for having witnessed its complex demonstration.
According to speculations, NASA is planning to employ Valkyrie and other android robots similar to it during deep space explorations, as a way of testing conditions on Mars and other celestial bodies starting from 2021, before carrying out human spaceflights.
Once Valkyrie becomes fully autonomous, without having to be recharged every hour, another alternative use would be to send the humanoid on spacecrafts alongside actual astronauts, as a reliable personal assistant, equipped with artificial intelligence.
In an effort to advance this project, NASA has been collaborating with scientists from Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, due to their expertise in developing Atlas, a bipedal, anthropomorphic robot which can be employed during rescue operations.
The humanoid had been designed alongside other robots such as BigDog, Cheetah, LittleDog and PETMAN, as part of the Robotics Challenge, which ended in June 2015, after having been coordinated by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) ever since October 2012.
Image Source: Space.com