Space Robotics

Space Robotics: Safer and More Sustainable Space Exploration

 

We’ve sold our Dexterous Hand to NASA and ESA as a research tool and have since focussed on innovative teleoperation solutions for the Space industry. So now you can carry out tasks by using our robot Hands from afar without having to be there physically. It’s the most advanced teleoperation technology out there, and with further development, it can be ready for space exploration, assembly, construction, maintenance or servicing tasks. It’s a new bold and brave area, and we’re welcoming it.

 

Advantages:

  • Safeguard astronauts
  • Improve productivity
  • More sustainable practices
  • Reduce costs

 

Key Challenges:

Shadow’s technology has the potential to address the following challenges:

Active space debris removal: Clear up the estimated 8000 tonnes of space debris and de-orbit outdated material.

On-orbit satellite servicing:  Repair, refuel or even take a retired satellite out of orbit.

In-Space assembly: Offer in-space assembly to build space structures and save high costs of construction

Aid to injured astronauts: Administer medical care to wounded crewmembers in space.

We are working with a leading medical centre for pre-clinical research to test out remote diagnosis cross-country. With development, we could have this lifesaving technology ready for space.

Conquering loneliness in space: Touch your loved ones from space and “feel” the sensation during lengthy space missions.

We’ve successfully trialled haptic feedback across the Atlantic, from California to London, which is a great starting point to allow for further development in space scenarios. The cross-country touch transmission features on a Channel 4 TV Show: Kevin McCloud’s Rough Guide to the Future, (33.00-40:20). Watch a short 3-minute segment here.

 

Shadow ships its products globally, and we believe space is a global issue. We’re keen to speak with companies all over the world when it comes to developing our technology further.

Contact us to discuss how our technology can help with various space challenges. You can also request a remote teleoperation demo to see the technology in action.

 

Case Study:

NASA and ESA

Our connections with space go back over a decade ago when researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering placed an order for our Shadow Dexterous Hand with tactile sensing. The Hand inspired NASA’s own Robonaut development and experiment with Robonaut 2 (R2).

We also delivered a Shadow Dexterous Hand at the ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The research looked at the challenges of using a teleoperated hand end-effector in a space setting.

 

Proof of Concept:

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and All Nippon Airways (ANA)

We’re in talks with JAXA and Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA), to collaborate on one of the most ambitious space missions in development. The forward-looking Avatar X project aims to develop avatar technology for space exploration and colonisation.

Shadow is the most advanced dextrous robot hand that I have seen. Being able to manipulate and impact a remote environment is critical for space applications – it’s not that useful to just exist in space without any ability to turn knobs, flip switches and perform experiments. That’s why we believe their technology has high synergy with space-based avatar applications – Kevin Kajitani, Co-Director of Avatar Division at ANA Holdings

 

UK Space Conference (UKSC):

The UK Space Conference is the primary space sector and industry event in the UK. Shadow in collaboration with the Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR Space) Hub exhibited in the Innovation Zone of UKSC and spoke with UK astronaut Tim Peake.

In collaboration with the team at the University of Surrey, we showcased how an autonomous orbital robot could grasp the engine nozzle (apogee kick motor) of an orbital target. The whole process took under 0.2 seconds – faster than human reaction time!

Read more about and watch our demo here.

 

Shadow Hand’s unique dexterity open up new possibilities in the novel and under-explored field of robotic grasping for space applications – UKSC

 

Reach out if you’d like to discuss more around our remote teleoperation systems in space scenarios or if you’re interested in using our robot Hand for space research. We’d be more than happy to show you a demo too.

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