There is almost no gravity on the International Space Station where the robot will stay. This is a numerical equivalent of roughly 10-6 to 10-4 of gravity, or 1/1,000,000 to 1/10,000 of the gravity on Earth. In other words, very little energy is needed to move yourself or other objects.
The robot communicates with body and hand gestures when speaking. What will happen during this operation in a 'low-gravity' environment? This 'low-gravity experiment' is used to find out. If the movement of the robot is not appropriate for this type of environment, there is a chance the robot would spin in its place as a result of its own movement.
This experiment is performed in a small jet airplane. A low-gravity state of 10-2 (1/100 of the gravity on Earth) was generated for 20 seconds each time the jet airplane rose sharply into the air.
Why can a low-gravity environment be generated on Earth? In fact, everyone has experienced low-gravity. But this is only for an instant in elevators. Do you know how your body suddenly floats the moment an elevator descends? That's it. That feeling is low-gravity. Incidentally, we created a low-gravity state 10 times during each flight in this experiment. It may look like fun in the video, but it was such an intense experiment that some people even suffered from horrible motion sickness.
The experiment... was a success! We tested slow to fast movements with the robot floating in the air as well as affixed to a support pole for launch to the space station. The robot showed no change from its movement on Earth.
Elements other than voice (body as well as hand gestures, expressions, etc.) are very important to have a more friendly exchange of communication. We were able to confirm that the robot is well-suited for communication activities in space through this experiment.