Saturday, 5 October 2013

ASIMO receives warm welcome in Slovakia

In 1986, Honda engineers set out to create a walking robot. Early models (E1, E2, E3) focused on developing legs which could simulate the walk of a human. The next series of models (E4, E5, E6) were focused on walk stabilization and stair climbing. Next, a head, body and arms were added to the robot to improve balance and add functionality. Honda’s first humanoid robot, P1 was rather rugged at 6’ 2” tall, and 386 lbs. P2 improved with a more friendly design, improved walking, stair climbing/descending and wireless automatic movements. The P3 model was even more compact, standing 5’ 2” tall and weighing 287 lbs.

ASIMO is the culmination of two decades of humanoid robotics research by Honda engineers. ASIMO can run, walk on uneven slopes and surfaces, turn smoothly, climb stairs and reach for & grasp objects. ASIMO can also comprehend and respond to simple voice commands. ASIMO has the ability to recognize the face of a select group of individuals. Using its camera eyes, ASIMO can map its environment and register stationary objects. ASIMO can also avoid moving obstacles as it moves through its environment.

As development continues on ASIMO, Honda demonstrates ASIMO around the world to encourage and inspire young students. In the future, ASIMO may serve as another set of eyes, ears, hands and legs for all kinds of people in need. Someday ASIMO might help with important tasks like assisting the elderly or a person confined to a bed or a wheelchair. ASIMO might also perform certain tasks that are dangerous to humans, such as fighting fires or cleaning up toxic spills. The dream sounds simple. Design a robot that can duplicate the complexities of human motion and genuinely help people. 

ASIMO took more than two decades of persistent study, research and trial before Honda engineers achieved their dream of creating an advanced humanoid robot. ASIMO travelled to Bratislava, Slovakia to attend the City's European Researchers' Night and help inspire the country’s next generation of scientists and engineers. It is the first time ASIMO has visited the central European country and the fourth time Honda Motor Europe has supported the European Commission’s pan-European initiative to help normalize science amongst the general public and show what researchers really do for Society.

Huge crowds of families and young children gathered within the Old Market Hall venue to witness ASIMO’s debut appearance. Special giant screens were installed outside the building so its four performances, held throughout the course of the day, could be shared with as wide an audience as possible. ASIMO was invited to the event by one of Slovakia’s leading artificial intelligence experts, Professor Peter Sinčák from the Technical University of Kosice, and the attendance was part of a wider program of hands-on experiments, science shows, learning activities for children and guided visits of research labs.

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