Honda’s ASIMO robot has been around for longer than most would expect with its initial development beginning back in 1986. In its familiar looking astronaut form the robot has been around since 2000 and has received a number of improvements since then. Today the Japanese company launched the brand new model in Brussels, Belgium. This upgraded version features vast technological advancements over its predecessor, but its mission has remained the same. Honda developed ASIMO from the beginning with the noble goal of helping people in need. Now that the robot can perform more tasks and is more mobile than ever the company’s goal seems that much closer.
“The all-new ASIMO, which Honda hopes in the future will be able to help people in need, incorporates several significant technological advancements over its predecessors,” the company said in a press release. “These include improved intelligence, enhanced hand dexterity (enabling it to open a bottle and pour a drink or express sign language), as well as the ability to run faster, run backwards, climb and descend stairs more smoothly, hop and even jump. The advancements take Honda another step closer to creating a robot for practical use in the home environment, or wherever assistance is required.”
Following these new upgrades, ASIMO can now run at speeds of up to 5.6 mph, not nearly as fast as a human but this is still a 1.8 mph improvement over its predecessor. The robot can now also run backwards, jump, and hop on one leg. Moreover, ASIMO has been equipped with object recognition technology, which allows it to perform tasks such as opening bottles and pouring drinks without damaging the containers. An even more impressive feature is that ASIMO can now communicate through sign language in both Japanese and American. But the biggest upgrade comes in the form of its artificial intelligence. The robot can not only recognize the voices and faces of multiple people speaking at the same time, but it can also adapt to situations in order to accommodate human beings.
Last but not least, ASIMO also received a few changes in terms of design, which, I’ll be honest here, make it look kinda creepy. The robot does look happy and cheerful from a distance, but up close there’s just something unsettling about that permanent smile and those dead eyes. All jokes aside, Honda is doing a great job here and hopefully they will keep making advancements in the field of robotics. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all have our personal advanced AI robotic assistant.