Robonaut 2 Shakes Hands on ISS


Robonaut 2 (Credits: NASA).

On February 15 Robonaut, a dextrous humanoid robot stationed on ISS, shook hands with Commander Dan Burbank. It constituted the first man-machine handshake in space. Robonaut 2, known as R2, followed up the handshake by signing “Hello, World” in American sign language.

“Today was a major step forward in R2’s development,” said Ron Diftler, Robonaut 2 project manager, in a statement. “The crew and the robot are working extremely well together and we’re looking forward to all the opportunities that will develop from this collaboration.” 

Robonaut 2 was developed as a collaboration between NASA and General Motors. It arrived on ISS in October 2011 and is designed to help with repetitive or dangerous tasks onboard the station, including EVAs.

Watch the historic handshake in the video below:



About the author

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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