The first humanoid robot in space with speech capability made small talk with a Japanese astronaut and said it had no problem with zero gravity on the International Space Station.
Footage released by the robot's developers on Friday showed Kirobo performing its first mission on the station, talking in Japanese with astronaut Koichi Wakata to test its autonomous conversation functions.
Wakata says he's glad to meet Kirobo, and asks the robotic companion how it feels about being in a zero-gravity environment.
"I'm used to it now, no problem at all," Kirobo quips.
Kirobo is programmed to process questions and select words from its vocabulary to construct an answer, instead of giving pre-programmed responses to specific questions.
The creator of the robot, Tomotaka Takahashi, said the autonomous functions meant nobody knew how well Kirobo would be able to answer Wakata's questions.
Though Kirobo had some awkward pauses and Wakata spoke more slowly than usual at times in their chat earlier this month, Takahashi said conversations smoothed out over time.
"Through layers of communication, we were able to observe the initial stages of a relationship begin to develop between a human and a robot, and I think that was our biggest success" he said.
Kirobo took off from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center for the International Space Station this summer aboard a space cargo transporter. Wakata arrived in November and will assume command of the station in March.
The project is a joint endeavor between advertising company Dentsu, automaker Toyota, and Takahashi at the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology.
Experiments with Kirobo will continue until it returns to Earth at the end of 2014.
In the meantime, Kirobo says he wants to ask Santa for a toy rocket this Christmas.
With astronomers discovering new planets and other celestial objects all the time, you may be wondering what the newest planet to be discovered is. Well, that depends on your frame of reference. If we are ...
Do you feel a little… distant today? The day after the 4th of July weekend brings with it the promise of barbecue leftovers and discount fireworks. It also sees our fair planet at aphelion, or its farthest ...
Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover's seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops ...
User comments : 0
Please sign in to add a comment.
Registration is free, and takes less than a minute.
Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.