One Giant Leap For a Monkey
May 11, 2015

As space exploration takes a hyper leap forward into the glittering abyss of the great wide unbeknownst, Darwin’s theory of evolution has gotten clouded in a mess of zeroes and ones.

You’d assume that newly improvised models of droids designed for blast-off into space – to tread the moon as we hardly know it – would come as upgraded versions of the modern man. Instead, 46 years after Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, a new bot is being designed to frantically follow in his trail of footprints on astronomical history. This time, the brains at the forefront of the space race have decided to look backwards, while thinking ahead. 

Introducing the iStruct Demonstrator, or in plain English, what you could call a robotic chimp. Hailed forward by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (aka DFKI), it is now being considered the optimal specimen for unmanned lunar missions and beyond. 

Although the ape species’ primordial roots take us back to the earliest stages of human evolution, enviable traits like flexible posture and an actuated spine make it a more superior model to go by. The ape’s genealogy and trumped up versatility gives way for improved abilities that amount to being a huge advantage in lunar exploration. This is specific to its ability to switch between being quadrupedal – the ability to use four legs – to walking on two legs.

The iStruct also boasts the first human-made design of an actuated spine. And similar to the actual wild animal, an excess number of sensors embedded throughout its feet and hands allow the Robo-chimp to absorb everything that falls between its grimy palms, increasing its scope of discovery and outreach.

Although still at the early stages of prototype development, with the right amount of research and funding, it shouldn’t be long before this little monkey is gracing the outer echelons of the heavens above us, to leave a trail of hyper discovery where Armstrong left off.  

by Ghassan Khayyat
Ghassan was tuned into the writing world on a transistor radio-wave of an unbeknownst frequency, once upon a daydream dreary. With a firm belief in Dr. Seussims and all things gadget and gizmo-tronic, he tinkers before he speaks, and chooses his words technologically. He is Editor for T3 Middle East’s Levant English publication and English website, and Associated Editor for the GCC English publication. Reach him at 
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