CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) is a creation from aircraft manufacturer Airbus and IBM that has been designed to accompany astronauts on the International Space Station. The 11-pound, 3D-printed orb will float in space and use IBM Watson software to interact with members of the crew. The talking, flying robot boasts a small screen on which a face is displayed, so that CIMON can emote like a true companion.
As Manfred Jaumann, a payload engineer at Airbus, describes: "CIMON will be the first AI-based mission and flight assistance system."
CIMON is currently being developed by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). As of June, German astronaut Alexander Gerst will begin a mission to the ISS, in which CIMON will help with three main tasks: experimenting with crystals, solving puzzles and conducting a complex medical task.