The latest version of Honda’s Asimo, known as the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, made his debut with Pres. Barack Obama last week at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan. Asimo greeted the nation’s leader with “Mr. President, I am Asimo, a humanoid robot. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

The robot stands 1.3 meters tall, weighs 50kg, and is able to function completely autonomously. Asimo has a lightweight, durable body composed of magnesium alloy coated with plastic resin. It has three lights to indicate power levels, the source of which is a rechargeable 51.8 lithium ion battery that can run for one hour on a single charge.

As well as talking, Asimo has the ability to walk, run, jump and kick a ball. It can also coordinate its body to avoid obstacles. The robot is specifically designed to operate in a number of environments, including the home and office where it can pick things up from multiple levels, such as the floor, stairs, workbenches and shelves.

Using visual information captured from its head-mounted camera, Asimo can also detect moving objects and assess size and distance. It can recognize hand movements and faces that are registered in its database. The bot’s built-in microphones enable it to receive voice commands, respond to its name, and recognize sudden sounds and look in that specific direction.

Asimo and the Future of Driverless Cars

The robot is the product of three decades of engineering, image processing, artificial intelligence and voice recognition. Designers at Honda claim that they can use this new technology to help them get closer to the development of driverless cars, which many car manufacturers, such as Volvo, Honda and Nissan, believe will be available within the next decade.

“If we can apply this kind of sophistication on cars, we could come up with something completely different,” said Honda engineer Hiroshi Kawagishi.


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