NASA refines robot for medical tasks

NASA has a humanoid robot aboard the International Space Station that might one day help the agency by performing medical tasks in space, guided by human hands on Earth, reports Quark.

It's the second iteration of the Robonaut 2, known as R2. It's made up of multiple component technologies and systems--vision systems, image recognition systems, sensor integrations, tendon hands, control algorithms and more, NASA says on its website.

Working with private-sector partners, NASA has been exploring how the robot could help reduce fatigue and prevent stress injuries, provide assisted walking in rehab scenarios and use telemedicine to perform an ultrasound scan of a medical mannequin and to use a syringe as part of a procedure, according to a NASA announcement.

Non-robotic NASA in-space ultrasound experimentation several years ago sought to determine the absolute minimum training required to obtain a high-quality ultrasound image remotely. It performed telemedicine experiments on Mount Everest in the late 1990s.

Technologies designed to diagnose and treat astronauts in space also have been developed with earthly uses in mind.

To learn more:
- read the Quark article
- here's the NASA announcement