Japan to Build Their Own Mr.Data?

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Feb 22, 2011 in Science, Tech |

 Japanese Data figure (small)

Japan recently announced that they’re considering sending a talking humanoid robot to the International Space Station in 2013.  In addition to offering companionship, and being generally creepy — it’s suppose to monitor the astronauts while they sleep — it’ll communicate with Earth via twitter, where it’ll tweet images to its followers on the ground. Sadly, I don’t think the robot will posess super-human strength, or any form of self-awareness. After all, I doubt Japan has any cyberneticists capable of crafting the appropriate positronic components.

Of course, we’ve already tried something similar with NASA’s “Robonaut” R-2 program. Unlike Japan’s robot however, ours sounds far more practical. Obviously, the name was a nod to the R2 units from Star Wars, despite having a head and arms like C-3PO and interestingly enough, the R-2 functions like a maintenance droid. This, of course, begs the question — why is it that a protocol droid needs arms and legs, yet R2 units lack opposable thumbs? Something about that just doesn’t sit right with me.


Tim is a pro-blogger and freelance writer out of San Diego, California. In addition to Fanboy.com, he contributes to the ModernMethod Network of sites as the Features and Reviews Editor for the Japanese culture and entertainment blog, Japanator. He’s also an Assocaite Editor for their popular gaming blog, Destructoid, and the collectible toy culture blog, Tomopop. For more information, follow him on twitter, or check out TimSheehy.com.

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