From Disasters to Space: Murphy speaks to NASA on human-robot interaction for extreme environments

Image of Robin MurphyDr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, presented a plenary talk to the Annual Plenary Conference for NASA Human Research Program Investigators Workshop (HRPI) in Galveston, Texas. A day earlier, Murphy gave a video-streamed talk for the Human Systems Integration group at NASA Johnson Space Center.

In her talks, she presented her latest results in how to design safe and trustworthy robots that can work with humans. Her research has addressed the challenges of integrating humans and robots at disasters such as the 9/11 World Trade Center and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. These disasters not only represent extreme environments in which robots can work, but they also present extreme conditions for operators. Disasters are similar to the routinely demanding situations that arise as robots are being used to explore planets or work side-by-side with astronauts.

The annual NASA HRPI Workshop is a gathering of over 1,000 professionals spanning 90 domestic and international universities. Historically, the workshop aims to expand knowledge on how the human body reacts in zero gravity environments, but attendees are increasingly interested in how robotics can help augment human capabilities while in space.