Japan's robo-astronaut takes 'one small step...'

Sep 05, 2013
This 2013.Kibo-Robot photo, taken on August 21, 2013, shows pint-sized android Kirobo speaking from inside the International Space Station (ISS). The robot is part of a study aimed at seeing how a non-human companion can provide emotional support for people isolated over long periods.

A pint-sized android has uttered the first robotic words in space, showcasing Japan's drive to combine cutting-edge technology with cuteness.

The wide-eyed and bootie-wearing "Kirobo"—roughly the size of a chihuahua—broadcast a message from inside the International Space Station, greeting citizens of Earth and paying cheeky tribute to Neil Armstrong.

"On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all," Kirobo said in a video that showed the humanoid creation drifting weightlessly on-board the ISS, as it moved its legs in the air.

The images made their global debut on Wednesday as part of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Games during a presentation ahead of a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires which will decide the .

"Good morning to everyone on Earth. This is Kirobo. I am the world's first talking robot astronaut. Nice to meet you," it said in Japanese.

The humanoid was created jointly by advertising firm Dentsu, the University of Tokyo, robot developer Robo Garage and Toyota.

The robot stands just 34 centimetres (13.4 inches) tall and weighs about one kilogram (2.2 pounds).

It left Earth on August 4 on a cargo-carrying rocket that was also delivering supplies to the ISS.

Kirobo is programmed to communicate in Japanese and keep records of its conversations with Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to command the ISS.

The robot is part of a study aimed at seeing how a non-human companion can provide for people isolated over long periods.

Explore further: Robots and dinosaurs as Japan holds 'Niconico' offline gala

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.

ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X CubeSats launched into space

Aug 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched an H-2B cargo rocket into space—a portion of which is bound for a rendezvous with the International Space Station. After ...

Europe's space truck docks with ISS

Jun 15, 2013

A robot freighter bearing 6.6 tonnes of cargo docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Recommended for you

The potential for robots to perform human jobs

Apr 20, 2015

Here's a game to play over dinner. One person names a profession that they believe can't be taken over by a machine, and another person has to make a case why it's not so future-proof. We played this game ...

Developing a robotic therapist for children

Apr 20, 2015

In collaboration with other national institutions, researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are designing a new therapeutic tool for motor rehabilitation for children. In this project, an interactive ...

Automating logistics for the factory of the future

Apr 20, 2015

Mass production and packaging in factories is already highly automated these days, but the same cannot be said for logistics. Movements of raw materials and finished products still depend heavily on manual ...

Japan robot receptionist welcomes shoppers

Apr 20, 2015

She can smile, she can sing and this robot receptionist who started work in Tokyo on Monday never gets bored of welcoming customers to her upmarket shop.

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.