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Russian SAR-400 robot wants to show you what it feels like to touch Mars

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A new Russia from robot is due to reach the ISS by 2014 and can transmit tactile feedback to a remote operator on Earth.


Russia is working on its own version of NASA's Robonaut with a machine called SAR-400 that's due to reach the International Space Station by 2014, but there's one important difference between the two — tactile feedback. As with NASA's bot, SAR-400 can perform menial tasks, and during testing last November it was used to tighten screws and open hatches. What's arguably most interesting about SAR-400, though, is that the operator can actually feel what the robot is touching through a special pair of gloves. This is combined with audio and video feedback, which is also relayed to the remote operator through built-in cameras and microphones. The team at the Russian Federal Space Agency views the upcoming ISS trip as a test, and believes that SAR-400 could eventually start exploring places like the Moon and Mars — once they figure out how to transmit the control signal over such a long distance, that is.