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World’s Most Advanced Humanoid Robot In NZ Nov.

Media Release
For Immediate Release
21 October 2004

Move Over R2d2 – The World’s Most Advanced Humanoid Robot
Asimo Will Make A Debut In New Zealand This November

Honda is bringing ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot to Big Boys Toys in Auckland, New Zealand for shows during November 12-14, 2004.

ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility and is a Honda innovation showcasing Honda’s belief in the ‘Power of Dreams’.

ASIMO has been developed over nearly two decades and is the result of extensive research by a team of Honda scientists and engineers into many scientific fields including anatomy, mathematics, physics and mobility. Understanding human movement and interaction were essential components. Designed to be the same height as the average sitting person and to be able to move with ease in a normal human environment, ASIMO is 120cm (four feet) tall and weighs just over 52 kilograms.

Honda’s work to develop an advanced humanoid robot began in 1986, when a research centre was established to focus on the fundamental technologies, including humanoid robotics. ASIMO was born on October 31, 2000, after Honda created seven experimental models and three prototype models. Honda has since continued to ‘nurture and develop’ ASIMO to improve skills and interaction abilities.

ASIMO is capable of carrying out a host of actions, such as opening doors and operating switches, but it is the Intelligent Real-Time Flexible Walking, or i-WALK technology, that sets ASIMO apart. i-WALK features a movement control that allows ASIMO to predict the next movement to make in real time. This provides the ability to make shifts to the current centre of gravity in anticipation of the movement. This means ASIMO can walk smoothly and gracefully.

ASIMO is able to interact with people and objects and perform human acts such as walking up and down stairs independently. ASIMO can even dance and this has been a favourite worldwide with children and adults alike!

Powered by a 40V nickel metal hydride battery, ASIMO is made of a super futuristic lightweight, tough magnesium skin that houses some of the world’s most technologically advanced sensors and programming.

ASIMO is also able to respond to surrounding environments and is able to stop and start to avoid a human being or other moving object which suddenly appears. In addition to being able to move like a human, ASIMO can recognise people and greet them by name, look at the face of the person speaking, follow them and move in the direction they indicate. ASIMO recognises its own name when called and responds to sudden or unusual sounds, such as a falling object or a collision.

“ASIMO is unbelievable to watch – you really have to see to appreciate what a technological marvel Honda has achieved! ASIMO demonstrates Honda’s leadership in pushing mobility technology forward. The development of ASIMO has positive and practical benefits for the real world. We hope in the future that ASIMO may be able to help with important jobs, like assisting the elderly or a person confined to a bed or a wheelchair or perform certain tasks that are dangerous to humans, such as moving harmful chemicals. ASIMO is a realisation of tomorrow’s concepts and visions, today,” says Graeme Seymour, Managing Director at Honda New Zealand.

In travels around the world, ASIMO is proving to be something of a celebrity and has met Presidents and Prime Ministers, Princesses and key celebrities. ASIMO has been on MTV, has opened the New York Stock Exchange, and been to the Paris Robot Show. ASIMO has traveled to the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and more – now ASIMO is finally coming to New Zealand!

ASIMO can be seen showcasing skills at the Big Boys Toys lifestyle exhibition at the Auckland Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland November 12th – 14th. ASIMO will be performing five times a day.

Honda’s ASIMO NZ Project Manager Kirstie Baker says, “At 4 feet tall, ASIMO is very cute, and I know Kiwis are really going to love seeing ASIMO. Not only will they witness a technological marvel, but they will enjoy a fun and entertaining show.”

ASIMO has just been inducted into the Carnegie Mellon’s Robot Hall of Fame™ on Monday, Oct. 11 Pittsburgh USA. Inductees were selected by a jury of technology leaders that includes Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc. and Sir Arthur C. Clarke, writer and futurist. The first robot to demonstrate true human-like mobility, ASIMO was honoured for unprecedented scientific achievement in bi-pedal (two-legged) humanoid robotics. ASIMO is still the world’s only bi-pedal humanoid robot capable of climbing and descending stairs, walking forward and backward, turning smoothly without pausing, and maintaining balance while walking on uneven slopes and surfaces.


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