ASIMO Comes To Europe
Scientific symposium sees first demonstration of Honda’s advanced humanoid robot

ASIMO – one of the world’s most advanced humanoid robots will make its European debut on Monday (30 June) at a major scientific symposium entitled "From High Tech to Intelligence – The Challenge of Humanoid Robots" held at the University of Darmstadt, Germany.

Developed by Honda, ASIMO (which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility) is regarded as one of the most advanced walking robots in the world. Utilising new advanced motion technology, ASIMO can not only walk forward and backwards but also turn sideways, climb up and down stairs, and turn corners. As such, ASIMO is the closest robot yet to replicating the natural walking motion of humans, as demonstrated in two live demonstrations at the symposium.

In addition, delegates at the symposium will be given details of new developments in intelligence technology being applied to ASIMO. These include the ability to recognise people, objects and gestures, calculate distances and the direction of movement of several objects. These give ASIMO a range of abilities including approaching persons, following them, moving in the direction they indicate and even recognising their faces so as to address them by name. ASIMO can also identify voices and respond to certain instructions.

Honda Research Institute Europe President Prof. Dr. Edgar Koerner said: "ASIMO is of course a fantastic showcase for our world class engineering and technological expertise but it also reflects Honda’s determination to develop advanced products that will deliver real benefits to people now and in the future. Our vision is to create a humanoid robot capable of interacting with and supporting humans to make our lives easier and more pleasant."

Honda stresses that there is a long way to go before specific roles can be assigned to humanoid robots. However it might be possible that they could provide assistance and give greater independence to the disabled and elderly. ASIMO is already being rented out by Honda to corporations and organisations in Japan for promotional roles such as welcoming visitors.

The Darmstadt symposium will provide leading academics in the field of robotics the opportunity to see ASIMO demonstrated live for the first time in Europe, learn more about the technological advances contained within it and exchange information with senior representatives from Honda’s research and development team. It will also provide a forum to debate the challenges and opportunities that will influence the future development of the next generation of humanoid robots.

The Darmstadt symposium is the precursor to a major programme of public demonstrations of ASIMO across Europe beginning at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Published : 29/06/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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