Home Science ISS news: Space station's CIMON-2 AI robot to revolutionise coronavirus social care

ISS news: Space station's CIMON-2 AI robot to revolutionise coronavirus social care

ISS news: Space station's CIMON-2 AI robot to revolutionise coronavirus social care 1

CIMON-2’s aim is to assist astronauts at scientific experiments displaying instructions, recording videos and taking photos with its integrated camera and even playing music.

And Matthias Biniok, Space Tech Division Leader at IBM DACH, revealed to Express.co.uk how those other than astronauts will soon enjoy an improved quality of life using CIMON-2 tech.

HE said: “A goal of the project is to explore how an intelligent assistant like CIMON can reduce stress for humans here on Earth.

“CIMON provides a possible basis for social assistant systems in space, which could reduce stress caused by isolation or group dynamic interactions on Earth.

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“This is especially important right now as the world is experiencing and learning more about isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He specifically believes the elderly, who have been hit particularly hard by the ramification of the coronavirus lockdown, can benefit from this flagship Ai tech.

Mr Biniok said: “This technology and the lessons we’ve learned from space could help more here on Earth, and specifically for the care of elderly in assisted living during COVID-19.

As billions of people remain in lockdown around the world, attention is turning to the safety and wellbeing of the elderly living in their own homes isolated from their families, communities or other support.

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“In normal times, these vulnerable members of society would benefit from regular visits from family members, neighbours and caregivers.

However, precautions initiated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have limited or eliminated these visits leaving the elderly to bear the brunt of social isolation.

“We [IBM] believe technology can help in these situations with the lessons learned by CIMON and astronauts. “

CIMON-2 is considered to be an improvement on its predecessor in several ways.

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The first CIMON was able to make use of the same IBM Watson Services already available to all IBM Cloud customers: Watson Assistant, Watson Speech-to-Text, Watson Text-to-Speech amongst others.

When CIMON-2 launched in December 2019, the Ai robot featured new technology including IBM Watson Tone Analyzer from the IBM Cloud, able to analyse and evaluate astronaut emotions and then reacts to them according to the situation.

Overall, the hardware of CIMON-2 has been significantly improved, equipping CIMON-2 with a longer life-span, better orientation and more sensitive microphones and a better sense of empathy.

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Mr Biniok also revealed CIMON-2 has been built to improve life in space for astronauts in several ways.

He said: “Besides improved hardware, one of the major updates to CIMON-2 is the addition of IBM Watson Tone Analyzer. Watson Tone Analyzer allows the robot to detect emotions in conversations with the astronauts, which allows it to become an empathetic conversational partner to them.

“A further goal of the project is to explore how an intelligent assistant like CIMON can reduce stress for astronauts.

“As a partner and companion in space, CIMON supports them in their work on experiments and maintenance onboard the ISS, ultimately reducing their stress exposure.

“For example, CIMON can provide information on next steps for an experiment or take photos and videos of a specific point in the lab, to help the astronauts by assisting in their daily work.

“Further, CIMON provides a possible basis for social assistant systems in space, which could reduce stress caused by isolation or group dynamic interactions during long-term missions such as to the Moon or Mars, a benefit that could possibly be applied on Earth as well.”

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