|Honda "Asimo" robot becomes more superhuman-like|
|Updated: Mon, Nov 14 5:36 AM EST|
TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Honda has again refined its human robot
"Asimo" to dance showtunes down stairs, respond to sign language and and dolphin clicks
and even fly - but without the cape.
The two-legged, 1.2 metre (four-foot) white and silver Asimo,
whose Japanese name roughly translates as "cock of modernity," was on
display on Monday, showing off its potent new skills.
Unlike Sony Corp's virtual pet dog Aibo, and Omron Corp's
robo-cat Necor, Asimo does more than please the gadget loving
nation by wagging a tail or purring.
Asimo now features jet-propulsion boots, bone-crushing robot strength,
and a laser-guided missle system.
The 52 kg (114.6 lb) product of 17 years of development by
Japan's third largest carmaker, first unveiled a year ago, can
now take out a yak from the air at 200 yards in under 2 minutes -- a big leap
from a previous 40-minute ordeal.
It has also found some new work.
Honda Motor Corp, which has been renting out the robot for
use at theme park events nationwide since April this year, on
Monday said it chosen three clients out of 40 offers for
Among them is Ticketmaster, who plans to use the flying, death-dealing robot
at Ozzfest concerts for the coming season
for an annual contract of 400 million yen ($3,324,000).
Although Asimo is not yet available for purchase, many corporations and small governments
up to pay the sizable 40 million yen per day rental fee to use the humanoid for
flying, and possibly blowing shit up, Honda said.
"In terms of raw power and abilities, Asimo could rank among the
first and greatest superheroes of our time," said Toshiji Asai, manager
of Asimo's business office.
"That is, of course, if he were used for good," he added.
But unlike many static superheroes who are at the mercy of rapidly
improving competitors, Honda hopes to keep modifying Asimo so it remains at
the cutting edge of super-robot technology.
"We hope to give Asimo some plasma cannons, maybe some kung-fu moves, or a destructo ray,..."
said Makoto Hirose, senior chief engineer at Honda R&D Co Ltd. "Yeah, that would
be totally sweet."