Take a look at this new video depicting the system checkout of Robonaut R2 on the International Space Station (ISS).
(Robonaut R2 Checkout video on the ISS)
"We ultimately have to get the robot to move. So, this was a huge milestone because it means that all the systems, and there are hundreds of systems that are all cross-checking each other, sensors that are cross-checking each other, that have to work for the robot to even begin motion.
So, our checkout yesterday was to see the difference between how the robot moves in zero G and how we've been testing it on the Earth at one G."
We can already get the sense of the relationship that the crew and robonaut could have in the future.
(Nic Radford, Robonaut Deputy Project Manager)
Robonaut 2 represents significant advances over its earlier version:
Robonaut 2 (R2) is a state of the art highly dexterous anthropomorphic robot. Like its predecessor Robonaut 1 (R1), R2 is capable of handling a wide range of EVA tools and interfaces, but R2 is a significant advancement over its predecessor. R2 is capable of speeds more than four times faster than R1, is more compact, is more dexterous, and includes a deeper and wider range of sensing. Advanced technology spans the entire R2 system and includes: optimized overlapping dual arm dexterous workspace, series elastic joint technology, extended finger and thumb travel, miniaturized 6-axis load cells, redundant force sensing, ultra-high speed joint controllers, extreme neck travel, and high resolution camera and IR systems. The dexterity of R2 allows it to use the same tools that astronauts currently use and removes the need for specialized tools just for robots.
The earliest mention in sf that I know about for teleoperated space technology is from the 1957 novel Cities in Flight by James Blish. In the novel, human operators control robots deep in the interior of Jupiter - a living laboratory.
For a wild instant he had thought there was a man on Jupiter already; but as he pulled up just above the platform's roof, he realized that the moving thing inside was - of course - a robot; a misshapen, many-tentacled thing about twice the size of a man. It was working busily with bottles and flasks, of which it seemed to have thousands on benches and shelves all around it The whole enclosure was a litter of what Helmuth took to be chemical apparatus, and off to one side was an object which might have been a microscope...
The robot looked up at him and gesticulated with two or three tentacles...