It's been almost 15 years since Honda first introduced Asimo, the company's attempt to create a humanoid robot that can walk and perform other human-like tasks. But Asimo's most recent upgrade introduces something unsettling: a pair of dead black eyes and a permanent smirk that leaves the bot looking more like an unsettling china doll with a secret urge to overthrow its creators.
Thankfully, Asimo's capabilities haven't quite caught up to its apparent devious intentions. The robot's got a new set of legs that improve its ability to tackle uneven terrain and even walk backwards, but it still tops out at a running speed of just 9km/h, which is pretty easy for most humans to outpace. And Asimo's hands have also been upgraded with 13 degrees of freedom so it's better equipped to open bottles and pour beverages, but we all know better than to accept drinks from supposedly friendly automatons.
More concerning are the upgrades Honda has given Asimo in terms of artificial intelligence. The robot's now able to recognise multiple faces and voices in a crowd, even if they're all talking to it at the same time. And it can predict and react to what's going on around it, like changing direction to avoid colliding with someone walking towards it, or, more likely, attempt to foil our plots to shut it down once it becomes sentient. THANKS, HONDA. [Honda via Pocket-lint]