I’ve come to Hondas Technical Centre in Brussels to meet one of its most famous representatives – though I’m not quite sure who it is
yet. Turns out, who I was about to meet wasn’t
actually a human, but a robot… Honda’s famous humanoid robot – Asimo. Asmio has been designed to interact with humans.
So if you reach out your hand it will shake it – sensors in its palm detect your touch
while cameras in its head track your movements. Asimo’s stabilization technology enable
it to react if you upset its balance. Moving backwards mid shake if you push it or stepping
in if you pull it towards you. This latest version of Asimo is the product
of almost three decades of development. It all started back in 1986 when Honda built
a robot which could walk, all be it very slowly and clumsily.
In 1988 it was developed to walk more like a human and in 1993 a torso was added. By
1996 Honda’s robot had become intimidatingly large so in 1997 it was shrunken to a less
threatening size, thankfully, before being made autonomous. In 2000 Honda unveiled Asmio
which stands for Advanced, Step, in Innovative, Mobility. Standing 130cm tall – the same height
as a seated adult – it’s the perfect size for helping out around the home. Over the years Asimo has been constantly developed
and it’s now mobile enough to play sports. However, it’s wise to warm up before any
physical exercise, even for a robot, and as well as run at 6 miles an hour Asimo can walk
backwards and hop. It can also kick a ball so time for a quick
robot vs human penalty shootout. That’s one nil to the autobots. But is Asimo as good
at saving a shot as it is taking one? Clearly Honda hasn’t trained Asimo to be goal keeper
just yet… Football is thirsty work, thankfully, Asimo
can get you some refreshments. With hands that have 13 degrees of freedom it’s able
to perform delicate tasks such as opening a bottle and pouring a drink . This may be
unremarkable for a human but it’s an incredible achievement for a Robot. In total Asimo has 57 degrees of freedom and
this allows it to dance – while its 52 volt battery can keep it going for 40 minutes.
Looks like this robot actually has better moves than some humans… Anyway enough of
that… Well Asimo it’s been nice to meet you, but
I have to go now.Don’t forget to write, email… Or whatever it is
you robots do!