ROBOT: Honda Update

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Nov 13 2001 - 05:05:17 MST

Japanese automaker Honda shows upgraded walking, talking robot
TOKYO (AP) - Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. on Monday showed an upgraded
version of its walking humanoid robot Asimo that can recite programmed phrases
and maneuver on stairways better than its predecessors.

The robot has also become much easier to operate than earlier models,
requiring just four minutes to start running, down from the previous 40
minutes, Honda said. The robot had already been able to walk and do a little
dance, but the upgraded model has more detailed, flexible movements and can
turn on slopes.

Voice-recognition technology previously contained in a separate personal
computer is now installed inside its body.

The machine also now has an electronic voice of its own and can be programmed
to remember about 100 different responses.

The robot appears on Honda's TV advertisements, promotional videos and shows
up at events such as the recent Tokyo auto show. Honda plans to rent out the
latest model for 20 million yen (dlrs 166,000) a year. It has already received
three orders - including from IBM Japan, which plans to use the robot as a

Honda is prepared to rent up to about 10 robots but only in Japan. The latest
robot stands 120 centimeters (four feet) tall and weighs 52 kilograms (114
pounds), slightly heavier than the previous model at 43 kilograms (95 pounds).

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"You'll learn to like robots. They'll be nicer than human beings."
--Hans Moravec

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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