While the main story centers around NASA's first space-based handshake the real interest here lies in Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot on the ISS
NASA yesterday announced that it had completed the first man-machine handshake in space between NASA's humanoid maintanence robot Robonaut 2 and the station's Commander Burbank.
The event was the culmination of a years worth of assembly and tests which resulted in Robonaut carrying out its first full systems check and then shaking the hand of the station Commander.
While it can't run as fast as Asimo or indeed tackle stairs with such poetic mobility Robonaut 2 does have a trump card up its sleeve.
Thanks to its humanoid body design and hands it's fully capable of carrying out all the systems checks that previously a human had to carry out.
Commander Burbank described the moment and asserted his praise for the humanoid piece of technology.
“For the record, it was a firm handshake,” Burbank said. “Very nice. Nice job on the programming and all the engineering. Quite an impressive robot.”
While we're still a long way from seeing anything resembling Hal (probably a good thing) this is certainly a neat trick which demonstrates the first step in using robots during space travel.