Valkyrie robot

"That doesn't look good," said Taskin Padir, a professor at Northeastern University, noting Val's $2 million price tag. Northeastern and UMass-Lowell are partnering on a two-year project to improve the robot's software and test its ability to manipulate tools, climb a ladder and perform high-level tasks.

NASA originally designed Valkyrie several years ago to compete in the disaster-relief robotics contest hosted by the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, but now it's looking for outside expertise to craft her into a kind of space mechanic. NASA shipped two other Valkyries to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Above: Taskin Padir, a professor at Northeastern University, speaks about the Valkyrie robot.

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