Honda demonstrates new version of its ASIMO humanoid robot

honda demonstrates new version of its asimo humanoid robotA few years ago Honda’s ASIMO robot humiliated the Japanese car company when it demonstrated how well it could tumble down stairs, when it was supposed to walk up them.

Whether the engineers that made that ASIMO ended up on the scrapheap along with their failed invention isn’t known, but what is clear is that ASIMO is back.

At a press conference held in Tokyo on Tuesday, Honda unveiled an all new ASIMO robot – one that can run, walk across bumpy surfaces, hop, and even pour a coffee. There was no sign of those stairs demonstrates new version of its asimo humanoid robot 2

The original ASIMO promised much when it was first unveiled back in 2000 but ended up being looked upon as a rather novel high-tech toy, offering little in the way of practical use.

However, according to the Washington Post, Honda researchers have been hard at work with the astronaut-looking ASIMO, determined to prove its worth. On Tuesday Honda president Takanobu Ito told a gathering of journalists that technology associated with ASIMO has been developed to make a robotic arm which can be used, for example, to open and close valves at the stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

The original idea had been to send ASIMO itself into the damaged plant, but engineers quickly realized that the robot – even the new version – wouldn’t be able to navigate the rubble. Stairs, maybe. Rubble, definitely not. So the company developed the robotic arm instead.

ASIMO’s running speed has also improved, increasing from 3.7 mph in 2005 to 5.6 mph today. According to the Post, its running style was a lot smoother than before, too.

It could even identify different voices speaking at the same time and respond to different instructions from each one. And if all that wasn’t enough to demonstrate that ASIMO had made some significant improvements, it even engaged in a spot of sign language. “My name is ASIMO,” it said with its fingers.

Honda’s president said he knew that much more time would be required to make robots into a practical business, telling reporters, “Maybe at the start this was a dream of engineers to make a machine that was close to a human being, like Astro Boy,” adding “We think ASIMO is good.”

Comparing the stairs video to a news piece broadcast in Japan on Tuesday, the humanoid robot has certainly come a long way. But you really would’ve expected the car company to have sent ASIMO up the biggest staircase ever, just to prove a point.


New, improved ASIMO:


Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Emerging Tech

Early-detection system for wildfires could save many states from big burns

When it comes to dealing with the growing problem of raging wildfires, a new wireless smart sensor system could help spot burgeoning blazes before they rage out of control. Here's how it works.

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.