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 though.honda 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.

Old ASIMO:

New, improved ASIMO:

Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Cars

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.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.