Floating AI Astronaut Assistant
On Earth, CIMON weighs 11 pounds and is a bit bigger than a basketball. In low-Earth orbit, the robot, powered by IBM’s Watson natural-language artificial intelligence, is designed to act like a space-bound personal assistant. It’s similar to Siri or Alexa, but equipped with knowledge that can help astronauts make repairs to the ISS, run the many experiments sent into space, or even talk the crew through basic medical procedures. It headed to the ISS this summer as a free-floating assistant, able to fly around the station on command with the help of 14 specialized fans. In mid-November, German astronaut Alexander Gerst successfully walked the floating assistant through its first camera-toting, voice-activated, rubix-cube-solving paces.