NASA may be getting into drugs for robots. Not the trippy kind, but more the healing type. And these drugs will not come in pill form. Nor will the robots be lining up at a clinic near you. Recent news of a NASA-funded program want to keep robots and other machines healthier for longer. The aim is to study their robotic DNA. Much like researchers in healthcare have been doing for centuries. The program is run by Sentient Science. They are a New York based company hoping to redefine the lifespan of robots. And give them the machine drugs they need for a clean bill of health. Could this have benefits for NASA and the next Mars rover mission? Will machine drugs exist in the future?
Medically Diagnosing Robots
Sentient Science has developed software that can determine if a machine is healthy. Or if it is in need of some robotic antibiotics. The DigitalClone software collects data about the machine and its components. This data can then be compared to its projected lifespan. All this came from a 25-year analysis of a single spur gear used by NASA. The DigitalClone software made a “clone” of the spur gear. On the computer of course. And examined the different components in hopes of finding damage that can be repaired.
There is Lifesaving Potential
If the DigitalClone software can successfully deliver results, it could be used to better examine safety. Machines break down. Robots go off the rails and kill humans. Things happen and researchers want to keep humans safe from robots. Hypothetically, because NASA is still involved. The ability to decode a machines genome could keep them safer for human operation. The program has even been used in medicine. Medical device companies are looking at its potential for things like hip implants.
NASA Machine Drugs Headed to Mars
The current Mars rover, Curiosity, is a fan favorite. His Twitter page is pretty cool, and so are his pics. However, Curiosity is closely monitored. Rumors of his tires wearing down before completing his Red Planet analysis have been circulating. And what does Russia think of doping Robots full of machine drugs? NASA and Russia have been playing nice. But the growth of projects like these may cause tension. Does Russia have their own NASA inspired robot drugs? Putin may be seen diagnosing robots as a threat. There will more than likely be more than one rover on Mars by 2020. If NASA can keep their rover healthier, they may conquer Mars first. Or compile more data, which is less fun to think about.
— NASA (@NASA) May 13, 2016