CIMON will work with three times Gerst on three tasks during the mission, according to Airbus, where the robot will give verbal instructions. On the other hand, the producers of CIMON say that voice-controlled AI capabilities granted by IBM are supported by the partner to collaborate with any astronaut who calls its name.
All six crew members at the orbiting outpost can speak to CIMON, though it has been taught to work best with Gerst. But what it learns can help in recognizing this type of AI Bot design in the future.
This medicine ball-shaped, weighing at around 11-pound, Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (CIMON) is the first AI-powered device that is being sent to space. At 5:42 a.m. ET, the spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station situated in Florida; it was launched by one of the Falcon 9 series of rockets developed by the SpaceX Company.
"By having a face on it, which the astronaut helped us design what face was appropriate, you get feedback and interaction". After the robot has mastered these skills, the AI team hopes to train the assistant on identifying technical difficulties and use it as an early warning system.
CIMON will work with the space station's Watson AI - IBM's artificial intelligence technology - created to support space flight crews.More news: Andres Iniesta confirms retirement from Spain squad after World Cup exit
It was built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center in a bid to "demonstrate cooperation between humans and intelligent machines" in the form of a technology experiment.
It will hover at the eye level of astronaut and its front camera can easily detect if the person it is facing is Alexander, or someone else.
The used Falcon rocket blasted off before dawn, hauling almost 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of cargo including the spherical AI bot named Cimon, genetically identical mice and super-caffeinated coffee for the crew of the International Space Station.
They did the same with Scott and Mark Kelly, Nasa's former identical twin astronauts, during Scott's year-long space station mission a few years ago.
The mission, which is part of a $1.6 billion contract between privately owned SpaceX and US space agency NASA, should reach the station on July 2.