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To Ms. Eisemann's Class:

I like both of the designs you submitted. The diagrams are clear and
thoroughly labeled, and your descriptions make it clear how you intend the
robot to work.

Both systems have rechargeable batteries, which leads me to wonder how it
is going to be recharged. Will it be recharge on its own, or will it need
the astronaut's help? Remember that we are trying to help the astronauts,
so if we make them do more work, it might defeat the purpose.

There are a great deal of acronyms here at NASA, and yours, SPIKE, makes
me think you all might work here some day. SPIKE has one hand and one
vacuum. On the drawing, the hand is fairly close to the body. You might
consider the limitations of having two hands that can't reach each other.
There are a number of activities that humans can only do because they can
use both hands together.

The Robot Buddy is also a good design. From your description, it has a
great set of sensors and tools that will make it a real benefit to the
astronauts. Your robot has a voice recognition system that allows
astronauts to talk to it. What will the robot do if it doesn't understand
the astronaut? From your description, the robot responds to the human
using a band for displaying messages. Would there be a problem if the
astronaut wasn't looking at the robot?

If your robot is designed to work on planets as well as the station, are
there different modes of operation? Will the robot be able to use the same
software on the ground and in zero gravity? If it is designed to do
testing, then how will it pick up samples and handle them?
For both robots, you might consider the question of how the robot knows
where it is in the station. If the robot is free-floating and has no
wheels or legs, then is there a way for it to know where it is? How will
it know where to find tools, experiments, or the astronauts?

Feel free to ask us more questions. The best way to solve a problem is to
really understand it. Keep up the good work!

-- Salvatore Domenick Desiano
Research Scientist




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