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: Talking humanoid robot launches on Japan rocket

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.

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

A robot dives into search for Malaysian Airlines flight

16 hours ago

In the hunt for signs of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370—which disappeared on March 8 after deviating for unknown reasons from its scheduled flight path—all eyes today turn to a company that got its start ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

Apr 16, 2014

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Students turn $250 wheelchair into geo-positioning robot

Apr 16, 2014

Talk about your Craigslist finds! A team of student employees at The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP) combined inspiration with innovation to make a $250 ...

Using robots to study evolution

Apr 14, 2014

A new paper by OIST's Neural Computation Unit has demonstrated the usefulness of robots in studying evolution. Published in PLOS ONE, Stefan Elfwing, a researcher in Professor Kenji Doya's Unit, has succes ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...