Robot ape to colonize the Moon?

July 2, 2013

iStruct Demonstrator, space robot (credit: DFKI)

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen are working on an ape-like robot called the iStruct Demonstrator that they classify as a “Space Robot.”

Lately the mechanical monkey has been practicing how to walk and balance in the center’s mock lunar landscape, Gizmag reports.

An ape-like body has certain benefits over a wheeled robot: its four-legged stance is stable when scrambling over obstacles or hilly terrain, and it can easily right itself if it falls over.

Then when it needs to do something with its hand(s), it could feasibly balance on its hind legs to free them up for manual work. The CHIMP robot currently being developed for the DARPA Robotics Challenge has adopted a similar strategy.

With renewed international interest in lunar missions, there is a remote possibility that iStruct (or one of its descendants) could be frolicking on the Moon at some point in the future.[...]