Scientists from NASA Ames and the Swiss Space Center reveal robotic applications for future missions to space, including the Moon, Mars, and other destinations in the cosmos. Join the conversation at swissnex San Francisco and learn how robots complement human explorers by performing work autonomously and under remote supervision from Earth."
Terry Fong is the Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at the NASA Ames Research Center. From 2002 to 2004, he was the deputy leader of the Virtual Reality and Active Interfaces Group at EPFL. From 1997 to 2000, he was Vice President of Development for Fourth Planet, Inc., a developer of real-time visualization software. Fong has published more than 80 papers in field robotics, human-robot interaction, virtual reality user interfaces, and parallel processing. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University (thesis work performed in Microengineering at EPFL).
Volker Gass completed his masterâ€™s degree in Microtechnology at EPFL in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Applied Micro-Systems Technologies at the University of NeuchÃ¢tel, Switzerland in 1994. He led Mecanex, a Swiss high-tech company active in the field of Aerospace Mechansims and, in 2004, was appointed a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences for his contributions to space applications. In 2008, Gass led the acquisition of SAAB Space and its subsidiary, Austrian Aerospace, and the following year was appointed head of Innovation and Products. He led the business team in the successful acquisition of Oerlikon Space and was responsible for Special Projects in the Marketing & Sales Organization of RUAG Space Switzerland, all the while maintaining strong ties to academia. He was closely involved with the creation of the Swiss Space Center in 2003 and was nominated Director in 2011.
Liam Pedersen's passion is field robotics for scientific and space exploration. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, where he developed the system for a robot to make the first autonomous discovery of a meteorite in Antarctica. He has worked on systems for Mars rovers to more effectively explore their surroundings and navigation systems for the next lunar rovers, and tested robotic systems in Antarctica, the Arctic, various deserts and lakes. Currently he is a senior researcher with Carnegie Mellon University in Silicon Valley, working at NASA's Intelligent Robotics Group in Mountain View, California.
Vytas SunSpiral is a Senior Robotics Researcher in the Intelligent Robotics Group within the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He is currently developing smart, free-flying robots and spacecraft as well as biologically inspired approaches to robotic systems that interact safely with humans and the environment. Recently, he led development and field-testing of the Footfall Planning Software, which enables operators to plan walking sequences over complex terrain for the ATHLETE family of six-legged lunar robots. He graduated from Stanford University in 1998 and most recently took a 1.5-year break from NASA to be the CTO of Apisphere Inc, a Berkeley-based startup that built a cloud-based system for delivering location triggered services to mobile devices.
Vytas SunSpiral, Senior Robotics Researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, describes a potential use for free-flying robots on the International Space Station. To control the clutter in the tight quarters, the robots could keep an inventory of station tools.
Design, construction, and use of machines (robots) to perform tasks done traditionally by human beings. Robots are widely used in such industries as automobile manufacture to perform simple repetitive tasks, and in industries where work must be performed in environments hazardous to humans. Many aspects of robotics involve artificial intelligence; robots may be equipped with the equivalent of human senses such as vision, touch, and the ability to sense temperature. Some are even capable of simple decision making, and current robotics research is geared toward devising robots with a degree of self-sufficiency that will permit mobility and decision-making in an unstructured environment. Today's industrial robots do not resemble human beings; a robot in human form is called an android.