Honda just announced that it will cease development of Asimo, the super cute humanoid that tours the world in the name of stunt marketing. Asimo was 18 years old. Asimo, once heralded as the future of robotics, was not even old enough to buy a beer. But it was always happy to help sell you a Honda automobile.
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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.
Sure, we all laugh when Honda's ASIMO robot trips and falls, but walking around in plasic armour can't be that easy. Don't believe me? This ridiculous ASIMO costume will let you experience it for yourself.
Honda Asimo, the frighteningly realistic yet increasingly useless humanoid robot, has learned another new trick! It can pour drinks. Watch Asimo roll out a cart, open up a thermos, grab the cup, tilt the cup, pour, finish the pour and hand it off to a pretty lady.
Asimo, the Honda humanoid, one of the world's most loved robots, was showing off its dance moves this week at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in San Francisco.
Asimo, still licking its wounds after being outrun by Toyota, fired back earlier this month at Carnegie Mellon, where it learned how to navigate complex, moving obstacle courses. Seriously impressive stuff in this video—just wait until things start spinning!
It's easy to lump Asimo into a stagnant pile of clips demonstrating a short robot waving, dancing and rolling down stairs since 2004. But as these 1/8 scale dolls action figures show, he's improved.
If you thought Asimo falling down the stairs was funny, wait until this epic 49-foot-tall version of Honda's robot falls down during the Rose Parade, crushing dozens of bedazzled dancers.
A while back we told you about a documentary named Japan: Robot Nation that would be on Current TV. Here's another clip from the show. And by the way, it premiers tomorrow night.
Why Honda took a few days to seed a video of their potentially emasculating robotic legs is beyond me, but here it is: a faceless man running the "Walking Assist Device" through its strides (ha, ha). My fears of testicular danger are only partially mitigated, and the fact that the legs have a hilariously feminine gait doesn't offer much comfort. That said, they do seem to work: the demonstrator never falls down, and appears to exert very little energy, even during deep squats.
Honda's first foray into robotising old peoples' haunches looked pretty tame, but this new one, on which geriatrics are supposed to mount like some sort of meat trophy, feels like a glimpse into a horrible, dystopian future where up is down, right is wrong and grandmas and grandpas amble through Sears on mechanised rectal steeds instead of walkers. The machine, which I'm 90% sure is just the missing half of this Battle Droid from Attack of the Clones, is more a passive support device than it is a set of active robot limbs, though it does have a small electric motor.