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Doll-like humanoid robot will keep astronauts company on the ISS

There’s already been one humanoid robot deployed to the International Space Station, but it’s goal has been research. When Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives in 2016, he’ll be bringing along a small robot not as much as a helper but as a little robot friend.

A consortium of companies is constructing two doll-like robots that speak Japanese, recognize faces and perform simple experiment tasks. One will fly to the space station next year, while the other will stay on the ground as a backup.

The humanoid robot will live in the station’s Japanese Kibo module. It doesn’t even have a name yet, but the public is being asked for suggestions on a Japanese website.

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