Petaling Jaya, 14 November 2008 - Dancing, kicking a ball, serving drinks and with the latest improvement, the new version ASIMO can now run faster at 6km/hour - these are the new capabilities demonstrated by ASIMO at 1 Utama today. Making its first official public appearance in a special preview since its arrival earlier this month, ASIMO hopes to inspire Malaysians to reach for their dreams.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia, Mr. Atsushi Fujimoto said, "Everyone in Honda lives and breathes with the tagline The Power of Dreams. 22 years ago, ASIMO's creators had a dream of a humanoid robot assisting in human society. Today, after 22 years of research and development, that dream has become evident through ASIMO which symbolises Honda's technological advancement. I hope via ASIMO, we will be able to share with Malaysians the Challenging Spirit embedded in us along the years. We will continuously challenge ourselves to improve lives through mobility innovations and technology advancement. ASIMO is that dream. ASIMO is that challenge."
Born on October 31, 2000, at 1.3 metres tall and 54 kilograms, ASIMO, which is the acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, was created as the world's first advanced humanoid robot that is able to run and move similarly to a human.
The introduction of the enhanced Intelligent Real Time Flexible Walking (i-Walk) technology has amazingly improved ASIMO's mobility. Today, the new ASIMO has now greater stability in response to sudden movement. Besides walking forward, backwards, going up and down stairs and maneuvering smoothly around obstructions, ASIMO can now run at a maximum speed of 6km/hour, doubled from the previous 3km/hour. He can even run and spin on the spot as well as run in circular pattern.
Now, ASIMO is able to recognise people's faces and interact with people with his head mounted eye camera and the newly introduced IC (Integrated Circuit) card. ASIMO can interact effectively with the person who is holding the card including identify the person's relevant information. Hence, these enable ASIMO to work as a receptionist that can interactively welcome and recognise people and their position.
In addition, ASIMO now can adjust a cart's operation by slowing down or changing direction when facing an obstruction. The new ASIMO has a tension sensor system built in both wrists, enabling him to operate a cart by himself by adjusting his pushing strength in both arms and keeping a standard distance from the cart.
However, ASIMO was not created overnight. It took Honda's engineers more than two decades to reach where ASIMO is today. The evolution of dreams started in 1986 by examining the principles of a two-legged robot that could walk. From 1987-1991, the Honda engineers examined the human walking to make the humanoid robot achieve fast walking pace. In 1991 to 1993, the next achievement was achieved by enabling stable walking when going up and down the stairs or slopes or stepping over an obstacle. Finally from 1993-1997, a human-like model with upper limbs and body was created. With further evolution in size and weight and advanced walking technology, ASIMO was born in 2000.
"Honda always strives to become a company that society wants to exist and with the power of dreams, we aim to create an ideal robot that one day can ease people's lives. ASIMO is that dream and we envision ASIMO to operate as another set of eyes, ears, hands and legs for people in need in future as he has features that are compact and lightweight, enhanced walking technology and wider arm operating parameters. His people friendly design makes him operates more agilely in the real-world environment," added Mr Fujimoto.
At the preview, winners of the "ASIMO Inspiring Dreams Contest" which ran from October 13, 2008 to November 2, 2008 were also specially invited to witness the improvements of ASIMO. One of the lucky winners was given an opportunity of a lifetime to go on stage with ASIMO to kick a ball and served a drink by ASIMO.
ASIMO will be visiting around Malaysia covering Klang Valley, Johor and Penang bringing the message of hope and inspiration to Malaysians. ASIMO had earlier visited Petrosains on November 4, 2008 as a sneak preview for students to learn more about science, technology and innovations that seek to ease and improve lives.
Details of ASIMO's road tours:
|14-16 November||1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya||Road show|
|18 November||Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor||Exclusive visit|
|20-23 November||City Square, Johor Bahru||Road show|
|25 November||Penang Adventist Hospital, Penang||Exclusive visit|
|27-30 November||Queensbay Mall, Penang||Road show|
The objective of the Road Tours is to instill the challenge that dreams can be a reality and ASIMO is an evidence of this as a symbol of hope and inspiration.