When talking about a “Robot”, what exactly pops up in your mind?
Do you end up wishing it’s someone who can cook your dinner, do your homework, clean your house, or get your groceries? Robots already do a lot of the jobs that we humans don't want to do or simply can't do. With the fast paced advancement in this field, the above tasks merely represent a part of what a robot can do. There’s way lot more to it.
20 years of efforts of Honda engineers have culminated into the most advanced humanoid robot in the world. The Honda Motor Company developed ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility. Rather than building a robot that would be another toy, Honda wanted to create a robot that would be a helper for people -- a robot to help around the house, help the elderly, or help someone confined to a wheelchair or bed.
First introduced on 21 October 2000, ASIMO was designed to be a multi-functional mobile assistant, to operate in real-world environments. It has seen tremendous improvement since then.
ASIMO is 4 feet 3 inches (130 cm) high, which is just the right height to look eye to eye with someone seated in a chair. This allows ASIMO to do the jobs it was created to do without being too big and menacing. It's ideal height makes it conducive to operating door knobs and light switches.
What ASIMO can do can surprise anyone. Have a doubt? Read it yourself.
- It has an ability to recognize moving objects, postures, gestures, its surrounding environment, sounds and faces, which enables it to interact with humans.
- It can detect the movements of multiple objects by using visual information captured by two camera "eyes" in its head and also determine distance and direction.
- It can interpret voice commands and human gestures, enabling it to recognize when a handshake is offered or when a person waves or points, and then respond accordingly.
- It is able to respond to its name and recognizes sounds associated with a falling object or collision. This allows the robot to face a person when spoken to or look towards a sound.
- It can respond to questions by nodding or providing a verbal answer in different language and can recognize approximately 10 different faces and address them by name.
- It can walk independently and climb stairs. Not only this, but it can run forwards and backwards, climb and descend stairs, hop and even jump.
- It is able to change its actions depending on what happens around it. It can also predict the direction a person will walk and instantly take an alternate path to avoid a collision.
- It can also understand preprogrammed gestures and spoken commands, recognize voices and faces and interface with IC Communication cards.
- It can also do jobs that are too dangerous for humans to do, like going into hazardous areas, disarming bombs, or fighting fires.
- It can turn on light switches, open doors, carry objects, and push carts and even play football.
ASIMO has a walking speed of 2.7 kilometers per hour (1.7 mph) and a running speed of 6 kilometers per hour (3.7 mph).
ASIMO can adjust the length of its steps, body position, speed and the direction in which it is stepping. Its arms, hands, legs, waist and neck also have varying degrees of movement. ASIMO has a total of 34 degrees of freedom.
ASIMO is a humanoid robot resembling human being, with head, two hands, two legs and 5 finger hands. ASIMO is powered by 6-axis Foot Area Sensor, Gyroscope & Acceleration Sensor, Servomotor, Control Unit, Cameras, Voice Recognition, and other components for it to execute the tasks. The computer that controls ASIMO's movement is housed in the robot's waist area and can be controlled by a PC, wireless controller, or voice commands.
With the improved intelligence, the all-new ASIMO takes the mobility, task performing ability and interaction with people to the next level and moves Honda one step closer to its ultimate goal of developing a robot that can be a helper to people in need.