My first trip to NASA last year was to photograph Robonaut for IEEE Spectrum. They created an interactive iPad app that highlights robots from all over the world, used in various industries. I was the lucky kid who got to hang out with the space robot.
We created animations that feature Robonaut’s human like hands, its ability to life weights with torque similar to a human, and it’s range of motions. This thing is up on the space station working along side astronauts, and has to use the same tools that they do. So it’s important that it functions much like a human. Except it doesn’t need a space suit. Pretty convenient.
On top of the space robot stuff the app is pretty neat. I thought it was interesting, but my four year old nephew thought it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. When he refused to put it down for dinner his mom gave him a timeout. Sorry dude.