A maker of digital array microphones and noise reduction software, Andrea Electronics, revealed that Airbus has selected its DA-250 Array Microphone for incorporation into CIMON, the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot to operate in outer space.
CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN) is a mobile and autonomous assistance system designed to aid ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst with his everyday tasks on the International Space Station (ISS). Gerst is a German geophysicist scheduled to embark on his second research trip to the ISS as part of expedition 56/57 in late April 2018.
CIMON, using IBM’s Watson technology, will help astronaut Gerst to perform three tasks: Together they will experiment with crystals, solve the Rubik magic cube based on videos and conduct a complex medical experiment using CIMON as an ‘intelligent’ flying camera.
CIMON’s digital face, voice and use of artificial intelligence make it a “colleague” to the crew members. This collegial “working relationship” facilitates how astronauts work through their prescribed checklists of experiments, now entering into a genuine dialogue with their interactive assistant.
The developers responsible for CIMON predict that this will help reduce astronauts’ stress and at the same time improve efficiency. In addition, CIMON helps enhance safety, because it can also serve as an early warning system in case of technical problems in the future.
The DA-250 is a small digital signal processing circuit card with stereo microphone sensors. The array microphone has beam forming, noise reduction and acoustic echo cancellation audio input technology and provides robust performance even in noisy server rooms and other fan noise type environments, as noted in the announcement.
“Airbus required a high performance microphone to operate in this unique user environment. They tested other digital array microphones, but nothing solved the complex audio issues like the Andrea DA-250 DSP array microphone with its industrial NR performance and seamless integration for solving the front end far-field voice input for CIMON,” said Douglas Andrea, CEO of Andrea Electronics Corporation.