Blog: Red Dwarf's 'Kryten' lives!
Dave Leggett | 16 May 2011
General Motors has been helping NASA with the engineering of a robot that will go to work on the ISS with what sounds like a domestic duties remit that will embrace things like dusting and washing up dirty dishes. The idea is that the robot can undertake routine tasks and leave the astronauts free to do the value added things. Right.
Robonaut 2, apparently, removes dust and kills bacteria on work surfaces – vital to the laboratory conditions of the space station where a germ-free environment is critical in the zero gravity pressurised capsule which generates its own oxygen.
“Astronauts spend around 60 per cent of their time on the ISS cleaning everything from hand rails and buttons to glass surfaces, so R2’s prime role is to take on their mundane tasks, leaving the team more time to devote to their experiments and more important jobs,” says Marty Linn, Principal Robotics Engineer for GM/Chevrolet.
Well I never. Who'd have thunk it. A very big bell has been rung in my head concerning an old BBC comedy series called Red Dwarf. It featured the random adventures of a small group of characters on a space ship. One of the characters was Kryten, a servile mechanoid who cleaned up after the rest of them and revelled in the role. Fact is, kind of, aping fiction. Thank you General Motors for helping get my week off on a surreal note. Could someone up there on the ISS please refer to R2 as Kryten just once and ask – Dave Lister style - for cold curry sauce and beer for breakfast? Thanks.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...