Honda unveiled a new and improved ASIMO humanoid robot
Honda Robotics, a newly established collective name used to represent all of Honda’s robotics technologies, unveiled a new version of their popular ASIMO humanoid robot. Its new autonomous behavior control technology allows it to continue moving without being controlled by an operator, and its improved algorithms and dexterity make ASIMO more practical in office or public spaces.
The new ASIMO is 130cm (4’3”) tall, and it is 6kg (13 pounds) lighter than the previous model which weights 54kg (119 pounds). In order to increase its dexterity, the new ASIMO has additional 23 degrees of freedom, making a total of 57 degrees of freedom. As a result of improved dexterity, the robot is capable to adapt to changing external situations while maintaining a stable posture and better balancing capability.
The combination of strengthened legs, an expanded range of leg movement and a newly developed control technology enables ASIMO to change landing positions in the middle of a motion. That ability enables it to walk over an uneven surface or balance itself by putting out its legs when needed. The robot can walk, run at 9km/h (5.6mph), run backward, and continuously hop on one leg or on two legs.
Integrated external recognition capability enables the robot to integrate information from multiple sensors and estimate the surroundings and movements around it. ASIMO is now capable of predicting the direction a person will walk within the next few seconds based on information from pre-set space sensors and quickly determining to take an alternate path to avoid a collision.
The coordination between visual and auditory sensors enables ASIMO to simultaneously recognize a face and voice, enabling ASIMO to recognize the voices of multiple people who are speaking simultaneously, which is difficult even for a human being to accomplish.
Honda has developed a highly functional compact multi-fingered hand, which has a tactile sensor on its palm and a force sensor integrated in each finger. Combined with the object recognition technology based on visual and tactile senses, this multi-fingered hand enables ASIMO to perform tasks such as picking up a glass bottle and twisting off the cap, or holding a soft paper cup to pour a liquid without squishing it. Due to its ability to perform complex movement of its fingers, the robot is also capable of making sign language expressions.
All of the mentioned capabilities allow ASIMO to perform advanced and more natural human-robot interaction, which brings is a step closer to practical use in our daily lives.