'Flying brain' created to follow German astronaut launches Friday

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The thin line between science fiction and reality is soon going to vanish with robots completely powered with AI, ready to explore the outer space. "I mean, if you go out to the moon or to Mars, you can not take all mankind and engineers with you, but with an artificial intelligence you have instantly all the knowledge of mankind", said German Aerospace Center CIMON project lead Christian Karrasch in the video below.

Standing for "Crew Interactive Mobile Companion", CIMON is a spherical bot that can see, hear, understand, speak and even fly.

CIMON has been trained to recognise the voice and face of Alexander Gerst, 42, a geophysicist with the European Space Agency.

The robot should be able to guide Gerst through various onboard procedures, showing videos or pictures to help with tutorials. Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut now aboard the ISS, helped design CIMON's screen prompts and vocal controls.

To be honest, we find it more exciting than scary and we're sure the astronauts on board the space station will find his company interesting and useful.

On board was a ball-shaped artificial intelligence robot nicknamed the "flying brain", which is created to fly around the International Space Station and interact with a German astronaut.

To get Cimon's attention, Gerst will need only to call its name.

Next year, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano will be Cimon's orbital master.

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As it is, Cimon smiles when it senses the conversation is upbeat and frowns when it's sad.

During its open-ended stay on the space station, Cimon should grow ever smarter and more knowledgeable, its system updated via IBM's Cloud.

SpaceX's spacecraft is scheduled to commence in August its mission to return to Earth to allow NASA to retrieve 3,800 pounds of hardware, research and supplies from the ISS.

All being well, the new rocket could be used to carry astronauts to the International Space Station in future missions.

Cimon is meant for additional brainpower, so it doesn't have legs or arms.

Robonaut is back on Earth.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.

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