NASA's 1st humanoid robot in space will aid with medical tasks

Astronauts sometimes need medical care, too, and NASA has developed a robot to administer such care.

The Robonaut 2, a second generation humanoid robot developed by the space agency, lives on the International Space Station. It is the first humanoid robot in space.

In addition to assisting astronauts on missions and, for example, providing an extra pair of ambidextrous hands, R2 is undergoing testing for its telemedicine capabilities. Currently, the Houston Methodist Research Institute and NASA are testing R2's abilities for conducting medical procedures through electronic communication or remotely operating R2 to conduct ultrasounds or use syringes.

R2 is the next generation iteration of Robonaut, called R1, which was built as an exploratory prototype to determine the robot's capabilities in space. R2 is faster and more dexterous, according to NASA.

The robot was named the NASA Government Invention of the Year in 2014, recognizing the robot as achieving one of NASA's missions to transfer advanced technology to U.S. industry.

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