Japan conversation robot ready for outer space (Update)

Jun 26, 2013 by Azusa Uchikura
Humanoid communication robot Kirobo, left, talks with Fuminori Kataoka, project general manager from Toyota Motor Corp., during a press unveiling in Tokyo Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk. Kirobo, jointly developed by advertising and PR company Dentsu Inc., Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Robo Garage Co. and Toyota., is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on August 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched.

Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered in Tokyo Wednesday to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk.

"Russia was the first to go outer space, the U.S. was the first to go to the moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans," said Yorichika Nishijima, the Kirobo project manager.

The experiment is a collaboration between advertising and PR company Dentsu Inc., the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Robo Garage and Toyota Motor Corp.

Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO of Robo Garage Co. and associate professor at the University of Tokyo, said he hopes robots like Kirobo that hold conversations will eventually be used to assist astronauts working in space.

"When people think of robots in outer space, they tend to seek ones that do things physically," said Takahashi. "But I think there is something that could come from focusing on humanoid robots that focus on communication."

Humanoid communication robot Kirobo is shown during a press unveiling in Tokyo Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk. Kirobo, jointly developed by advertising and PR company Dentsu Inc., Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Robo Garage Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on August 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Because Kirobo does not need to perform physical activities, it is smaller than most robots that go into space. Kirobo is about 34 centimeters tall (13 inches) and weighs about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).

Humanoid communication robots, Kirobo, bottom left, and Mirata, bottom right, are held by Tomotaka Takahashi, left, CEO of Robo Garage Co. and project associate professor from the University of Tokyo, and Fuminori Kataoka, project general manager from Toyota Motor Corp., during a press unveiling in Tokyo Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered to demonstrate the robot's ability to talk. Kirobo, jointly developed by advertising and PR company Dentsu Inc., Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Robo Garage and Toyota., is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on August 4, 2013. Kirobo's land-based counterpart Mirata is not designed to go into outer space but has the ability to learn through conversations it has. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Its land-based counterpart Mirata looks almost identical but is not designed to go into outer space. Instead, it has the ability to learn through the conversations it has.

During the demonstration, Fuminori Kataoka, project general manager from Toyota, asked Kirobo what its dream was.

Humanoid communication robot Kirobo, center, talks with Fuminori Kataoka, project general manager from Toyota Motor Corp., during a press unveiling in Tokyo Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk. Kirobo, jointly developed by advertising and PR company Dentsu Inc., Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Robo Garage Co. and Toyota., is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on Aug. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

"I want to create a future where humans and robots can live together and get along," it answered.

Kirobo is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on August 4, 2013.

Explore further: Q&A: Drones might help show how tornados form (Update)

4.8 /5 (9 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Robot buddy to keep Japan astronaut company

Nov 30, 2012

A small humanoid robot that can talk will be sent into space to provide conversational company for a Japanese astronaut on a six-month mission, according to new plans.

iRobot planning an Android-based robot

May 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- iRobot is working on robots that have the brains of an Android tablet. The goal is an Android-based tablet that is able to see the world around it, hear input from humans, respond and think ...

German team creates robot ape (w/ Video)

Jun 25, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers at Germany's Research Center for Artificial Intelligence are working on a project they call iStruct—its purpose is to create robots that more closely resemble their natural counterparts. ...

Recommended for you

Q&A: Drones might help explain how tornadoes form

Dec 18, 2014

Researchers say they have collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now, they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how ...

First steps for Hector the robot stick insect

Dec 16, 2014

A research team at Bielefeld University has succeeded in teaching the only robot of its kind in the world how to walk. Its first steps have been recorded in a video. The robot is called Hector, and its construction ...

Getting bot responders into shape

Dec 16, 2014

Sandia National Laboratories is tackling one of the biggest barriers to the use of robots in emergency response: energy efficiency.

Robot 'shadow hand'

Dec 12, 2014

Picking up an apple is one of those jobs requiring the delicate touch of the human hand – or its robotic counterpart.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.