(WSVN) – Technology that makes life more accessible to South Floridians could also benefit NASA. 7’s Kevin Ozebek has more on the important task of returning astronauts to the Moon. Here’s tonight’s 7Spotlight.
Rhonel Cinous grew up dreaming of exploring outer space, and thanks to technology, he made it happen.
Rhonel Cinous: “Amazing. Fantastic.”
Six years ago, Rhonel was paralyzed in a diving accident. He now has to rely on hands-free, voice-controlled technology to live more independently.
Rhonel Cinous: “This is how I do my banking. This is how I connect with my siblings. This is how I order the things I need. This is how I regulate the temperature in my home.”
Rhonel works with United Spine Society to help others with disabilities.
He tests voice-control software programs to see if they work.
Rhonel Cinous: “It can be used by people who don’t have hand function, which I probably don’t have, or people who can’t move their head and neck.”
His years of work were so vital to the United Spine Society that the organization decided to send him on a mission.
Rhonel Cinous: “They started explaining that Amazon and NASA were sort of collaborating, and they said, ‘Well, we decide — all voting power — and we want you to represent us.’”
Rhonel was selected to join the virtual crew for the final days of the Artemis 1 space mission.
Last month, the uncrewed Orion spacecraft began a 25-day mission around the moon.
There is a voice-controlled program called Callisto on board.
It works like Amazon’s Alexa, and Rhonel and his team are testing it as NASA plans to use Callisto when it returns astronauts to the moon in 2025.
Rhonel Cinous: “The hope and plan for this project is to allow voice control to assist the astronauts and mission control to interact with the actual space shuttle to help them throughout the actual mission.”
Just like you ask your Alexa device to turn on the lights or tell you the weather, Rhonel and his team ask Callisto to do the same. Except, instead of controlling a home, Callisto will control the entire spacecraft.
Rhonel Cinous: “Actually ask questions about the mission, the surface of the moon, what’s going on in the area, and give it some orders.”
But there’s one thing this Star Trek fan would love to ask Callisto.
Rhonel Cinous: “Callisto, are Klingons real?”
He may not be able to answer that question, but he’s excited that his work will help NASA prepare for the next trip to the moon.
Rhonel Cinous: “It’s amazing that not only was I chosen for this one, but they showed that people like me have a place in these once-in-a-lifetime events.”
He hopes it will create an opportunity to make life more accessible to disabled people across the planet.
Kevin Ozerbeck, 7News.
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