Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Asimo:Honda's Great Humanoid Upgraded

Honda has increased its humanoid capabilities and now Asimo is more advanced.
Honda has been very silent about Asimo, its super-advanced humanoid robot, in recent years. After introducing the first version in 2000, Honda showed several versions through 2005, until the company finally took the raps off a new version earlier today in Tokyo. This model is the thinnest, fastest, and most “intelligent” Asimo yet.
At 48kg, the Asimo that was shown today is 6kg lighter than the previous model. He now has 57 joints in his body (23 more) and walks at 9km/h (instead of 6km/h).

With 2000's ASIMO model Honda added features that enable ASIMO to interact better with humans. These features fall under 5 categories:

  • Moving objects

Using the visual information captured by the camera mounted in its head, ASIMO detects the movements of multiple objects, assessing distance and direction. Common applications of this feature would include: the ability to follow the movements of people with its camera, to follow a person, or greet a person when he or she approaches.

  • Postures and gestures

ASIMO interprets the positioning and movement of a hand, recognizing postures and gestures. Because of this ASIMO can react to and be directed by not only voice commands, but also to the natural movements of human beings. This enables it to, for example, recognize when a handshake is offered or when a person waves and respond accordingly. It can also recognize movement directions such as pointing.

  • Environment

ASIMO recognizes the objects and terrain of its environment and acts in a way that is safe for both itself and nearby humans. For example, recognizing potential hazards such as stairs, and by stopping and starting to avoid hitting humans or other moving objects.

  • Distinguishing sounds

ASIMO's ability to identify the source of sounds has been improved, and it can distinguish between voices and other sounds. It responds to its name, faces people when spoken to, and recognizes sudden, unusual sounds such as that of a falling object or a collision, and faces in that direction. It can respond to questions, either by a brief nod, a shake of the head or a verbal answer.

  • Facial recognition

ASIMO can recognize faces, even when ASIMO or the human being is moving. It can individually recognize approximately 10 different faces. Once they are registered it can address them by name.
Network integration: Utilizing networks ASIMO can provide information and function better for various commercial applications such as reception. Its abilities fall under 2 categories:

  • Integration with user's network system

By connecting with a user's network ASIMO can offer many useful functions such as greeting visitors and informing personnel of the visitor's arrival by transmitting messages and pictures of the visitor's face and guide visitors to a predetermined location.

  • Internet connectivity

By accessing information via the Internet, ASIMO can become a provider of news and weather updates. He is also used as a sample for helping students understand the nature of humanoid robots.
Honda says that Asimos’s improved “intelligence” makes it possible for the robot to track a conversation between different people, recognizing the faces and voices of everyone involved (even when several people speak simultaneously).

Another plus in the intelligence department: Asimo can now temporarily stop a certain action and resume it after performing a different task in between (for example opening a can of beer and pouring it into a glass – something, which wasn’t possible before either).

If told, Asimo can kick a ball or start hopping now, too – on one or two legs. He can now even hop in a circular pattern.
And that’s not all: according to Honda, the robot “is now capable of predicting the direction a person will walk within the next few seconds based on information from pre-set space sensors and quickly determining to take an alternate path to avoid a collision with the person if the estimated locations of the person and the ASIMO intersect.”

So now this robot is more advanced and can be used in several areas..

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