On January 18, 2014, Aldebaran’s NAO Robot stood where no robot has gone before, and RobotsLAB was responsible for training his seven human companions in the finer points of his programming. NAO will be the only robot in an analog astronaut crew ascending into the Mars Society’s, Mars Desert Research Station in the the high desert of Utah. Anyone familiar with the high desert can appreciate the analogy--at this time of year the high desert is nearly as barren, dry, sandy and cold as the surface of Mars!
From January 18th until February 1st, this talented, diverse crew of individuals from Canada, India, Namibia, Slovakia, the U.K. and the US (Mars Crew 134) conducted several real-world research experiments aiding future human missions in the exploration of the planet Mars. As there is a high likelihood of robots accompanying astronauts to Mars in the future, NAO will be the first of his kind to test the psychological interaction between humans and robots on long missions.
It should come as no surprise that Aldebaran’s NAO robot was chosen for this experiment. NAO is the most widely-used humanoid robot in research and education, with a well-documented record of interactions with humans in both research and real-world environments.
Nor should it come as a surprise that RobotsLAB was chosen to train the analog astronauts in NAO’s programming. RobotsLAB’s record in training humans to interact with robots in the field of education is also well-documented, with its premier product, the RobotsLAB BOX assisting teachers across the country in demonstrating abstract math concepts to young minds through the innovative use of robots just like NAO.
Well done Mars Crew 134, Well done NAO!