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October 22, 1999

Ed Campion / Eileen Hawley
Johnson Space Center, TX
(281) 483-5111


Brownie Girl Scouts Honor NASA Robot "Dart" as One of Their Own

A NASA robot will become an honorary Brownie in a special ceremony at the Johnson Space Center next week.

Girl Scout Troop 152, a contingent of the South Texas Girl Scout Council, will be in attendance to designate a NASA robot, the Dexterous Anthropomorphic Robotic Testbed (DART), as an honorary Brownie Girl Scout. The ceremony will happen at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25 at JSC.

The troop, comprised of nearly 20 five- to seven-year-old girls from the surrounding residential area, visited JSC in the spring as part of a special field trip focusing on women in science careers. During the tour, they 'met' DART, one of NASA's robots.

"Out of all the amazing sights and inventions we saw during that tour, DART was the one thing the girls remembered the most," said Joanna Grimmer, the troop leader. "The girls were just fascinated when they first saw DART and discovered it had a female voice."

It was soon after that the troop came up with the idea to make DART an honorary Brownie.

DART, like many robotic/automated systems, features a female voice and resides in JSC's Dexterous Robotics Laboratory in Bldg. 9C. Although it is permanently mounted to the laboratory structure, DART has a great deal of mobility with it's ability to rotate at the "waist" while moving it's arms and hands much like a human. An operator sitting in a specially equipped chair can dictate DART's torso, head, arm and hand movements using virtual reality gear. DART can tie knots, grapple objects, and even manipulate tools. DART is a testbed for developing and demonstrating technologies that NASA is using in advanced robotic projects.

Note: Reporters wishing to attend this event should contact the JSC newsroom by 12 noon on Monday, October 25 at 281/483-5111 to arrange press accreditation for the event. Requests for accreditation also may be submitted by fax to 281/483-2000.


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