Nova Imaginary Autonomous Space Hound Would Probably Shame Boston Dynamics' Spot

SN-3 Nova 14 photos
Photo: Amin Akhshi
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Do not be afraid of what you see. Even though the robotics industry has been making huge progress lately, it hasn’t quite reached the level you see here.
This stunning four-legged beast is known as the SN-3 Nova, and the mind behind this conceptual design is Amin Akhshi of Tehran, Iran. Looking through this concept designer's Behance or Artstation pages, you’ll quickly get a feel of his knack for anything robotic—everything from body armor to automated surgery wards, and this little fella, the Nova.

First of all, it’s not a robot meant to aid in warfare, so you can forget about hopping on its back and riding it to battle like you’re a part of some Japanese anime cult. Instead, think about the Nova as a helper or assistant. Why? Well, the designer mentions that this bag of bolts and wires, and a board for brains, is meant to aid in maintenance and repairs of existing electronic systems, and then some.

If you give the design a bit of thought, you’ll quickly realize the huge benefits of something like this being possible. Even today, in real-world applications, a device like the Nova is extremely helpful. Aside from the obvious military and police use for which robots like these are developed as we speak, applications for a device like the Nova seem to be endless.

SN\-3 Nova
Photo: Amin Akhshi
Think about things a bit differently. Let’s say Elon is the man with the plan, and mankind will be on Mars in the next few years. Once habitats are up and running, there will need to be some maintenance system in place that allows settlements to operate in safe conditions.

But the effects of space on the human body are no joke. A human wearing no protection would survive for about two minutes on Mars before skin and tissue begin to burst. Robots, on the other hand, have no flesh to worry about. Maybe some fluid and hydraulic lines could be a problem, but NASA looks like they have it figured out. Simply put, these puppies could easily roam around fixing the goods no matter the conditions.

Part two of the story is one geared towards medical use. On the front of Nova, you can see a couple of extra arms, yes, the same ones to be used for maintenance, can be used to treat patients in a medical emergency setting.

All that may sound like a far stretch from current technologies but it really isn't when you think about it. Even today, there are surgical operations and tasks that are performed remotely via several cameras, sensors, and numerous instruments. Nova includes instruments like 3D laser scanners, high precision CMOS sensors, HDR cameras, and those fully articulated instruments.

SN\-3 Nova
Photo: Amin Akhshi
Think about the applications for something like this in off-world settings. Instruments like these can be used daily as they’re much more resilient than the human body. More so, they can be deployed into a region and begin exploration before any human foot is set forth into otherwise treacherous terrains.

Think this may be a far cry from the truth? Think again. Companies like Boston Dynamics, NASA, and Cal-Tech have teamed up to develop robots very similar to these for exploring Mars; even similar functions are put into practice. Well, for now, they're only used to map uncharted territories, although tool use isn’t so far away either.

Something the designer also includes in the workings is electric power. Nothing else except battery power is to be used to feed the Nova. This battery pack can also be seen mounted behind the head. Personally, I feel that even the designer thought about the Nova being ridden like a horse. Why? I don’t know; it just seems so well designed for that purpose too.

Sure, it may be a while until you see robots as finely developed and designed as the Nova, but that future is more than sure to happen.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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