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Meet R2: Your robotic coworker courtesy of NASA, GM

Meet R2: Your robotic coworker courtesy of NASA, GM

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NASA and General Motors are collaborating on next generation robot technology. This robot, dubbed Robonaut 2 or R2 for short, could be your co-worker someday.

NASA and General Motors are collaborating on next generation robot technology. This robot, dubbed Robonaut 2 or R2 for short, could be your co-worker someday.

R2 is a humanoid robot capable of working alongside humans.

For GM, R2 would be used to test car safety and develop safer manufacturing plants. GM hopes to integrate robots with human workers. NASA would use R2 as a helper---or stand-in---for humans on space missions.

[See more photos in an image gallery on SmartPlanet sister site ZDNet]

A video of what R2 can do shows the robot writing in cursive and lifting a 20lb weight. The robot uses bleeding edge control, sensor and vision technologies.

The collaboration included engineers and scientists from both NASA and GM. The two parties worked together through a Space Act Agreement with NASA's Johnson Space Center.

The two parties say R2 can do more work beyond previous generation humanoid machines (GM, NASA statements).

As for the background of R2, NASA has some experience with robot technology. The original Robonaut was developed in collaboration between the Johnson Space Center and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency 10 years ago.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure