Referees are not the most beloved figures in the world, and a new video from NASA’s Johnson Space Center gives us even less reason to like them. Robonaut 2, known as R2 for short — not to be confused with Artoo — is an autonomous humanoid robot that’s made its home on the International Space Station since 2011. NASA developed the robot in partnership with General Motors to help astronauts with repairs and to provide a working example of a helper robot on the ISS. To make it even more user-friendly, NASA has been working on making R2 capable of understanding natural language commands, which would make life easier for astronauts who are working in tight spaces with their hands full.
In the new video, released earlier this week, R2 takes on even more humanoid properties. In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, the robot dons a black referee’s hat and demonstrates 10 football referee hand signals. The video also invites viewers to guess what signals R2 is making, though it doesn’t exactly give them enough time to guess before the answers are revealed.
We love robots here at Inverse. We embrace the future of automation and A.I., and we recognize that R2’s arm movements and dexterity are impressive. But to be frank, R2’s referee act is just so uncool.