Honda’s newest Asimo robot can walk faster, hear you better, and knows sign language

asimo in europe
The latest version of Asimo turned up in Belgium on Wednesday, giving European robot enthusiasts their first up-close look at Honda’s advanced life-like bot.

Watching Asimo walk and run with such effortless grace and ease, it’s hard not to imagine the Honda chairman himself inside, pulling all the moves. It’s certainly a far cry from its hopeless but hilarious attempt at climbing stairs back in 2007.

Apparently, though, Asimo’s for real, a marvel of Japanese engineering that’s been improving markedly with every iteration over its 14-year lifespan.asimo robot

The 4.2-foot-tall humanoid was last taken into the engineers’ tool shed for a major makeover a couple of years ago when it was given a speed boost (to 5.6 mph from 3.7 mph) as well as a more graceful running style. The bot was also fitted with technology to recognize different voices speaking at the same time and respond to different instructions given by each person.

The further-refined, all-new Asimo can also cope better with rough terrain, while enhanced dexterity allows it to communicate via sign language and perform tasks such as taking the lid off a bottle and pouring a drink (without spilling it all over the place, thankfully).

“Previous generations of Asimo have demonstrated incredible fluidity and speed of movements,” Satoshi Shigemi, chief engineer of the Asimo project, said during a demonstration this week in Brussels, Belgium. “The all-new Asimo takes this mobility, task performing ability and interaction with people to the next level and moves Honda one step closer to its ultimate goal of developing a robot that can be a helper to people in need.”

In other words, Asimo, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, could one day find itself carrying out duties in places like homes for the elderly, or assisting the disabled with various tasks.

While it might seem like a cool idea to also have Asimo pottering around your home — answering the door to visitors, relaying alerts and notifications, and unblocking the toilet — such a reality could be many years away. For something close to that, you’re best off laying down $500 for Jibo.

[Source: HondaYahoo]

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Emerging Tech

Ant-inspired walking robot navigates without GPS by using polarized light

What do you get if you cross Boston Dynamics and Ant-Man? You get Antbot, a robot from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) which uses ant-like navigation to move around without the aid of GPS.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.