[Updated 2:25 p.m.]Honda sent us an e-mail saying the Asahi Shimbun report is "speculative." "Although Honda hopes that ASIMO will someday be a helper to people, at this point the robot is solely a research and design project," a Honda spokeswoman said.
Let’s assume that someday you will have, in your home, a humanoid robot helper. The robot, because it’s shaped like you, can use your tools and move easily around your house. It folds the laundry, it helps your elderly mother up the stairs, and on Sundays it makes brunch for the family. It’s capable of handling almost any household chore you can throw at it.
Now let’s imagine that you’re out on the lawn, kicking a ball around with your son. Your robot helper is in another part of the yard, its back to you both, fixing a drainpipe.
Yes, we're a long way from a walking robot butler, or even Paulie's
wheeled maid in Rocky III, but Kawada Industries, a Japanese
robotics company, continues to push the technology forward. While
their humanoids don't get as much hype as Honda's ASIMO, Kawada's
models have many of the same capabilities.
Maybe the problem is that
they're just not as cute as little ASIMO. The newest version, HRP-3
Promet, looks like it just walked out of an anime book - there's
definitely a Voltron-esque quality. It can walk on two legs, and it's
also waterproof. Still, on looks alone, we prefer its predecessor, the
more colorful HRP-2.—Gregory Mone
Honda's Asimo demos on their North Hall stage have been drawing large crowds, likely full of people hoping to see the bipedal 'bot take another tumble. Monday's demos didn't come through in that respect, but the gathered onlookeres were instead treated to a different spectacle: Asimo's "running" capabilities. While it may look like a child astronaut urgently needing a restroom (or a child astronaut who has mastered a sort of fast-motion pimp walk), Asimo's four-mph jog—in which both feet leave the ground for a brief .08 seconds at the height of the stride—is nonetheless a pretty amazing sight. —John Mahoney
Check out the little guy warming up and then making the dash below:
We've come a long way since the Hoover, but an autonomous robot-maid is still a long way off. Don't throw away the dish gloves just yet.
By Larry Smith
Posted 03.02.2006 at 3:00 am 0 Comments
From the Jetsons' Rosie to Richie Rich's Irona to Robby of Forbidden Planet, we've been promised digital domestics that look and act a lot like . . . a maid. But that isn't going to happen anytime soon, robot experts say. The problem? Today's machines are a long way from having the anthropomorphic qualities-above all, sight-found in human help.
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