This is Valkyrie. She’s 6-foot-2 and 275 pounds, and she works for NASA. Oh, and she’s a robot.
“We really wanted to design the appearance of this robot to be one that was just, when you saw it, you were going to be like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome,'” says Nicolaus Radford, of NASA‘s Dexterous Robotics Lab. To that, we say, “Mission accomplished.”
Valkyrie is completely self-contained: She can move her arms, legs, waist and head; is battery-powered; and she’s chock-full of cameras and sensors. Ultimately, NASA wants the robot to be able to assist astronauts with EVAs (extra-vehicular activities, or “working on stuff out in space”) on the International Space Station.
Why do we keep calling Valkyrie a “she?” Well, there’s a few reasons: A) Valkyries were female figures in Norse mythology, and B) Val’s sensor array in the “chest” area makes it kind of look like she has a bustline. NASA’s official position is that the robot is a genderless humanoid, but after decades of male robots in science fiction, we’d like to claim this one as a SFRRM (Strong Female Robotic Role Model).
You can read a much more detailed description of Val over at Spectrum IEEE. (Our favorite tidbit? The robot’s got custom footwear designed by DC Shoes. Form and function.) The future is here, everyone!
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