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.
Eagerly eyeing her next drill site on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover laid the groundwork by brushing the chosen rock target called 'Bonanza King' on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Sol 722, with the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) ...
It's confirmed! Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy just discovered his fifth comet, C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). He found it August 17th using a Celestron C8 fitted with a CCD camera at his roll-off roof ...
A new ovoid structure discovered in the Nakhla Martian meteorite is made of nanocrystalline iron-rich clay, contains a variety of minerals, and shows evidence of undergoing a past shock event from impact, ...
NASA is helping students examine their home planet from space without ever leaving the ground, giving them a global perspective by going beyond a map attached to a sphere on a pedestal. The Sally Ride Earth ...
There is nothing like a head cold to make us feel a little dazed. We get things like colds and the flu because of changes in our immune system. Researchers have a good idea what causes immune system changes ...