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back to article NASA buys cutting-edge Cornish robot

In a triumph for West Country technical prowess and engineering knowhow, NASA has ordered a robot made in Cornwall. Here's a vid: Admittedly the Cornish droid - a humanoid contraption powered by compressed air and known as RoboThespian - is not intended for use in space like the mighty, 12-foot-tall Canadian "Dextre" unit or …

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FAIL

Amazing how low tech the US is ...

I recall being gobsmacked, years ago - 1990 -, on my first US visit to watch some "tomorrows's world" programme where the presenters were creaming themselves over the fact that US scientists had found a way to encode data into the 4 unused scan lines in a TV picture, and that they were suggesting this could be used (with compatible TVs) to transmit, news and weather.

It finally dawned on me that that had just invented Ceefax ....

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Oops

I mean the KSC *Visitor Center*, not KSC itself.

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min

planning...

..to take the mechanical menace on an extra terrestrial scrumping binge?

tsk tsk tsk.

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WTF?

What the hell?

Why some many processors? Aren't animatronics companies able to do stuff now without bloating out their own profession so that they are running MULTIPLE copies of Linux which presumably require lots of synchronisation and programming to run one robot.

Seriously - 1.6GHz Atom, a "brace" of 800MHz ARM's and 5 more *multi*core processors to do things like more and control valves. Back in my day that would have been with a handful of Z80's probably running at sub-MHz levels, or even just one "huge" 4.77MHz chip.

I agree that with any video/image processing you're going to want a dedicated chip in there but that's the equivalent computer power of a whole suite of machines for a school (which is overkill in itself).

When did electronic engineering turn into "Let's run Linux on it / Stick a C program on a FPGA"?

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Silver badge

Hmm

"When did electronic engineering turn into "Let's run Linux on it / Stick a C program on a FPGA"?"

I dunno - about 5 years ago? Been out much recently?

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Oooh-Arrr-2-D2

+3 internets for that. Great stuff!

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Badgers

I live here....

...not seen or heard of it until now.

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Coat

I live here too...

... and I'd also not seen or heard of it until now.

That may be in part due to my here not necessarily being the same as your here.

Yes, the one with "grockle" scrawled on the back in clotted cream...

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Silver badge
Pint

NASA is to be congratulated for not being U.S. centric

No one has the corner on ideas, even though Jobs might think so, and NASA, in it's wisdom of being open to all comers with good ideas - Canada with it's tried and tested Canadarm as well as the Dextre - is making another smart move.

Now, from Blighty, the Cornish RoboThespian to join other Cornish innovations which include the game of rugby, originated in Penzance; one of the earliest water closets (WC) at Arwenack Manor, Falmouth; discovery of substance manaccanite, at Manaccan in 1790, now known as titanium; the first passenger carrying steam engine known locally as the puffing devil at Penydaren; perfecting the process of refining soap (Pears).

My personal Cornish favourites are The Pastie and The Cream Tea.

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Not forgetting

Aluminum, discovered and named by Humphrey Davey. Obviously being Cornish someone had to correct his spelling, and then forgot to tell the Americans...

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Bronze badge
Coat

personal Cornish favorites

Oh, and y'know what else: I really dig those little miniature chickens they invented there. When our family was stationed in Europe, we'd order them a lot when we went out -- like having a whole chicken to yourself, thighs, breast, light meat, dark meat, but it didn't fill you up too much; it was, like, just enough chicken. Awesome.

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Joke

Hold on a sec...

...there's not a single Scotsman mentioned here.

Everyone knows *we* invented/discovered everything...:-)

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Gold badge
Joke

Re: Hold on a sec....

Yes, but this is NASA we're talking about and open deep-fat fryers are a bit of a liability in zero-gee.

Thus a series of inventions/discoveries that revolve around battering something unlikely and dunking it in boiling oil for a few minutes aren't really of interest to them....

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@TeeCee

Hmm. Think of all those thousands of individually shaped and precision manufactured shuttle ceramic tiles. Think of a tile in a crucial location falling off leaving the surface behind it unprotected.

Now think of an emergency tub of batter.

Only real problem is if there are any Scots in the crowd when the shuttle lands.

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No tax dollars

I believe that the vistor stuff at KSC has to be entirely self-funded from tickets and gift shop sales, and no Govt. funding is allowed to be allocated?

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Pint

Were The Japanese...

...receptionist bots too sexy?

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Point of order...

KSC isn't funded by NASA. It's owned and run by Delaware North, and is self-funding.

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Go

Americans love buy American

But rarely understand that buying American means components come from elsewhere.

They really do believe they make everything somewhere in the US because they are so awesome.

It literally shocked somebody to the core when they were told at Disney World when I was there that although Disney made the software (cough) for little Crush to talk the PCs were HP and therefore from China. "but HP is American came his reposte" I sniggered...loudly.

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Pirate

Inheriting "global" economics

In the drive to crush employees underfoot and hope to erase the idea of promotion within the social strata, normal, everyday companies have been "outsourcing" and "right-sizing" in a bid to manage the expectations of succeeding generations.

With each successive generation also being less and less educated (to bolster claims that local labour don't "have the skills" - hence more outsourcing), this is a dangerous and ultimately self-destructive spiral into economic oblivion... all in the hopes of getting an extra £0.05 on the share price so they can walk away from the mess with millions (billions?) of £ in their pocket and damn the rest of the company or the country.

Ever wonder why they all dream of retiring to Aruba instead of the countryside of Kent?

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Aruba's nicer?

I mean I've been to both and I know where I'd rather stay.

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A lot of Merkins

Are in fact deeply concerned that we don't really build anything at all in this country any more. Hell even Tony Soprano was aware of it. Our cars are made in Mexico and everything else is made in China. We are well aware of this as our trade imbalance makes the news almost nightly now.

One of these days I hope to actually meet one of these Merkins the Brits on El Reg are always bitching about. I seem to be surrounded by oh I guess 300M people but I can't seem to find one Merkin in the bunch.

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Bronze badge
Stop

'ere, city boy. Less of the yokel-baiting

Nobody in Cornwall says 'Ooo-arrr' (not even the few remaining natives), in much the same way as you never hear a real Scotsman say 'Och aye the noo'.

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Grenade

you should try asking for directions

Ooo Arrr now, Let me see.. .......

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Silver badge
Pint

but that is just...

having a little fun at the expense of city idiots who can't read a map or a signpost.

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Thumb Up

Quite right

That's Somerset...

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Flame

define

a "real" scotsman.

I see your och aye and raise you a jings hoots

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Undercrackers

Doesn't the test of a real Scotsman involve the choice of undergarments when they wear skirts?

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Joke

But they do say...

"where you to?" when they mean "where are you from?".

Takes some getting used to, and prompted often due to many not being able to place the origin of a general Yorkshire accent*. Aye, 'appen as t'foot o' t'stairs is a long way t'go, lahk.

* general, in this sense, meaning without a specific North, East, West or South Yorkshire lilt, for those who can tell the difference... and none of that funny sh*te they talk in that there Barnsley, either...

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Terminator

Ooo-Arrsimo. Take me to your tour leader

I can see NASA bringing this robot back to the shop once they discover that it's dead from the waist down and the only reason it's standing on its perch is that its feet have been nailed there. Hmmm.. sounds a bit like a sketch....

Can it move about or even just bend its knees?

Oh, and that chicken impression needs work. It doesn't even flap its arms. KSC or KFC?

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But look at the plumage...

It might be nailed to it's perch but it's got lovely plumage.

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Anonymous Coward

Authenticity?

If you cant feed it pasties and get it pissed on scrumpy, whats the point?

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Pint

Ooo-arrr, I think you'll find

It's only Mancunians on stag do's in Newquay who are brave enough to eat a pasty when they are pissed on Scrumpy. The rest of us likes a bit of scallops and mussels with our clotted cream and Skinners. Oooo-aaar

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re: pissed pasty munching Mancunians

and you will know us by our drunken cry of "eeh arrrr yo" before we pick a fight with someone that has been mistaken for "our kid" :D

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Ru
Troll

Re: Authenticity?

Scrumpy? This isn't Dorset, you know. You'll be wanting a few pints of Spingo, not that watery apple rubbish.

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Silver badge

@What the hell

Because it's much easier to have a dedicated 10p ARM processor responsible for the real time control of some valves than have the main control system be some ultra complex hard real time construction that has to respond to ever sensor and operate every valve.

It's the same reason you having an extra 'wasted' CPU in your disc drive/network card/printer/keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

Mid-Atlantic meetings

"Some Americans at least might see this as a rare case of NASA actually giving the US taxpayers' wallets a rest and getting the job done at a low price, rather than its usual policy of buying from huge US corporations with entrenched politically protected workforces and paying prices to match."

A group of American procurement officials heading east across the Atlantic meet a group of Britons of the same persuasion heading west. "Lewis Page?" asks the head of one group of the other. "Lewis Page!" nods his opposite number.

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Now make a sister for it

And commence the breeding program.

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Terminator

But ........

We're already here......

and he's got nothing to breed with, not exactly packing in the speedo department is he?

I'll get me coat, the purple leather one.......

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Happy

can't believe it!

Mr Page endorses a UK product over a US one :)

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Alien

Cornish Robot Lesbian Thing

I for one welcome our Cornish Lesbian Overlords...hmm. Don't think I've quite got that right.

Ah well, nice try.

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Terminator

Uh oh... the shape of things to come!

all them graduates working at McD's are for the chop now!!! (that'll teach them that spending 3 years getting wrecked every night and thinking a fancy artsy media course was gonna give them the easy life (soon to be down the dole center)..)

they will be replaced with more obedient PR customer facing droids.

next stop.... starbucks and all the supermarket checkout desks...

Would you like Cashback with that (smeghead)/Sir ?

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Joke

The best Keanu Reeves impression I've ever seen.

This robot had it down pat, absolutely flawless performance. Keanu Reeves is probably angry now that robots can easily replace him in the "stoic and emotionless" department.

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Grenade

It's the money stupid

The lit may be from everywhere but the paycheck is Welsh!

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Anonymous Coward

2 things:

1. "administering a stinging bitchslap to the cross-pond carping curmudgeon" That was good.

2. "From an industry 'protectionist' view point the best way to ensure your industry lags behind and is over-priced is to exclude the competition."

Could also read:

"From an industry software view point the best way to ensure your industry lags behind and is over-priced is to continue software patents."

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Terminator

"Why not give the job to Disney"

-the same people who made "Darby o gill and the little people"... stereotyping a country for generations, AND added insult to injury by casting Sean Connery in it as well? ( he's still trying to play down "Zardoz")

... all hail our Linux powered west country overlords.

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Anonymous Coward

Protectionism...

"From an industry 'protectionist' view point the best way to ensure your industry lags behind and is over-priced is to exclude the competition."

Which is what did for us in the 60s and 70s, with the added "benefit" of nationalised industry being unable to work even remotely efficiently.

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Coat

Phwoarr2-D2

Bit of brand-storming for The Sun...

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