February 28, 2013
KIROBO Robot Prepares For Work Aboard The International Space Station
|The diminutive Japanese communication robot KIROBO will to join the crew aboard the International Space Station this summer. Recently the robot underwent zero-gravity testing aboard the "Vomit Comet."|
Recently KIBO underwent some zero gravity testing. The KIBO Robot Project, organized by Dentsu Inc. in response to a proposal made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, unveiled the final design of its small humanoid robot and its Earthbound counterpart.
The robot is based on a commercially-available kit called Robi that stands 13.4 inches (34 cm) tall and weighs 2.2 pounds (1 kg). Toyota contributed natural language processing technology, allowing the Kobi robot to understand Japanese speech. It responds using a synthesized voice, and is equipped with a camera that can perform facial recognition.
KOBI's primary duty will be to entertain Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will receive encouraging tweets from Earth through the robot.
The robot was designed by famed robot creator Tomotaka Takahashi, founder of ROBO-GARAGE at Tokyo University. Takahashi previously built a Guinness World Record-setting robot mascot for Panasonic's EVOLTA line of batteries. The EVOLTA robot climbed a rope to the top of the Grand Canyon, scooted around the Le Mans race course, and completed an Iron Man triathlon. This summer his latest creation will take up residence inside the experimental module of the ISS.
Crowd sourcing the robot's name, the team reviewed 2462 suggestions and decided "KIROBO" would be used for the space station robots, and "MIRATA" for their ground-based counterparts.
See the robot undergo zero gravity testing aboard a plane (as it performs the dreaded "Vomit Comet" maneuver) in the following video.
SOURCE My Navi News via Gizmag
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