Feeds

NASA buys cutting-edge Cornish robot

To be dubbed Oooh-Arrr-2-D2, no doubt

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Disgruntled Yank moans "Why not give the job to Disney" - feels force of West Country engineer's bitchslap

Jackson says that NASA came to Cornwall because someone from the space agency saw RoboThespian at a conference in the US and liked the look of it. The export triumph by Cornwall's cutting-edge robotic crowdpleaser industry has led to some sour grapes Stateside. Ex-NASA employee Keith Cowing, nowadays an inveterate critic of the huge, bloated agency, writes:

At a time when NASA is off developing a real (and much, much cooler) robot that will work in space (Robonaut) why not try and use something that resembles actual NASA robots to do education and public outreach? RoboThespian is manufactured overseas in the UK (Cornwall). Quite frankly, at a cost of between $54,000 to $119,000 wouldn't you think that KSC could find an American company that offers something that will fit the bill? Indeed, Disney World is an hour west of KSC in Orlando and they have lots of animatronic robots - indeed, it's their specialty.

Indeed, indeed. But Jackson is having none of it, administering a stinging bitchslap to the cross-pond carping curmudgeon. He tells the Reg:

This is a bit stupid as there is really no such thing as a US product or a UK product... Our robots use valves from Japan and Germany, motors from Switzerland and chips from the USA, Austria and China. The alloy is most likely from Australia and we have used software developers in Germany and France as well as the UK.

I guess the carping stems from some sense of entitlement to being the world's tech leader, but really it's just a simple misunderstanding of what it takes to integrate a modern hi-tech product - if you stripped the 'foreign' components out of the shuttle it wouldn't fly too well - not to mention the taking the I out of ISS.

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

So there. And anyway, according to Jackson, "a 'bespoke' option would cost at least 10x the price... there are very few full size humanoid robots in the world and near none that you can buy off the shelf - except RoboThespian".

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.