"Flying Brain" Robot CIMON of IBM and Airbus is Heading for Space


Photo by: stux via Pixabay


Aeronautics company Airbus and computer manufacturing company IBM teamed up to develop Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN, commonly known as CIMON, to be the first “flying brain” to travel in space and work with other astronauts.

CIMON is built with an AI network and voice and face recognition technology. It is an autonomous and mobile assistance system created to help astronauts with their daily tasks on the International Space Station.

The idea behind the creation of CIMON, which has the same size as the medicine ball, is to also reduce the stress that astronauts experience outer space. IBM’s lead Watson architect Matthias Biniok wrote in a blog post that the working relationship between CIMON and the astronauts aboard the ISS will facilitate “how astronauts work through their prescribe checklists of experiments.” Biniok adds that now, they will be entering into a genuine dialogue through its interactive assistant. 

While there were previous android astronauts that have made the trip into space, such as NASA’s Robonaut that cleans handrails in the space station, CIMON stands out because it is built with advanced artificial intelligence. This capability is not something that has been implemented in the previous robots that made a trip into orbit above the planet Earth.

Airbus’ head of microgravity payloads Manfred Jaumann said, “CIMON will be the first AI-based mission and flight assistance system.” Jaumann also said that they will be the first European company to carry the flying brain onboard the ISS.