NASA appears to be in a most generous mood as the season of giving nears, and I sure wish I was on their gift list like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The prestigious think-tank university just got the most awesome present an acclaimed tech-oriented school could ever want -- a 300-pound, 6-foot-tall next-generation humanoid loaner robot name Valkyrie. This advanced modular prototype was bestowed upon MIT as a gesture of goodwill and incentive to keep their robotics division humming with discoveries well into the new year. NASA's Valkyrie is one of two intelligent robots delivered to educational institutions this fall, with Northeastern University's team in Boston receiving its twin for use in the college's robotics technology lab.
"Advances in robotics, including human-robotic collaboration, are critical to developing the capabilities required for our journey to Mars," said Steve Jurczyk, with NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. "We are excited to engage these university research groups to help NASA with this next big step in robotics technology development."
In addition to this superhero-like Valkyrie robot, both school's divisions will be awarded up to $250,000 in funding each year for the next two years as they endeavor to compete in NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge Centennial Challenges Program, which involves both software simulations and real-time physical tests of the sleek machine's agility and dexterity. The R5 Valkyrie was initially designed to perform dangerous disaster-relief maneuvers, buts its ultimate goal is to complete hostile missions in future deep-space exploration programs.
What do you think of NASA's benevolent donation to MIT, and don't you wish you were unwrapping an awesome robo as you ring in the holidays?
(Via The Mary Sue)