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Archived Robot Section
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The all-new ASIMO is now advanced from an "automatic machine" to an "autonomous machine" with the decision-making capability to determine its behavior in concert with its surroundings such as movements of people.
At the beginning of the development process, the following three factors were identified as necessary for a robot to perform as an autonomous machine.
The technologies required to realize these capabilities were developed;
- high-level postural balancing capability which enables the robot to maintain its posture by putting out its leg in an instant
- external recognition capability which enables the robot to integrate information, such as movements of people around it, from multiple sensors and estimate the changes that are taking place
- he capability to generate autonomous behavior which enables the robot to make predictions from gathered information and autonomously determine the next behavior without being controlled by an operator.
With these capabilities, the all-new ASIMO takes another step closer to practical use in an environment where it coexists with people.
1. Advancement of intelligence capability
Honda has developed a new system that is a fundamental technology for advanced intelligence, which comprehensively evaluates inputs from multiple sensors that are equivalent to the visual, auditory, and tactile senses of a human being, then estimates the situation of the surrounding environment and determines the corresponding behavior of the robot. With this technology, ASIMO became capable of responding to the movement of people and the surrounding situations. For instance, ASIMO will stop its current action and change its behavior to accommodate the intention of the other party. Moreover, coordination between visual and auditory sensors enables ASIMO to simultaneously recognize a face and voice, enabling ASIMO to recognize the voices of multiple people who are speaking simultaneously, which is difficult even for a human being to accomplish.
Further, ASIMO is now capable of predicting the direction a person will walk within the next few seconds based on information from pre-set space sensors and quickly determining to take an alternate path to avoid a collision with the person if the estimated locations of the person and the ASIMO intersect.
|ASIMO interrupts its presentation to the customer to inform them of the arrival of drinks|
|Recognizing the different voices of three people who are speaking simultaneously|
|Walking while avoiding a collision with people by predicting the direction the person will walk|
2. Advancement of physical capability
The combination of strengthened legs, an expanded range of leg movement and a newly developed control technology that enables ASIMO to change landing positions in the middle of a motion has enabled ASIMO to walk, run, run backward, hop on one leg or on two legs continuously. As a result of acquiring the ability to make such agile motions, ASIMO has become capable of more flexibly adapting to changing external situations so that it can, as an example, walk over an uneven surface while maintaining a stable posture.
|Walking over an uneven surface||Hopping on one leg and moving forward|
3. Improved task-performing capability
Honda has developed a highly functional compact multi-fingered hand, which has a tactile sensor and a force sensor imbedded on the palm and in each finger, respectively, and which acts to control each finger independently. Combined with the object recognition technology based on visual and tactile senses, this multi-fingered hand enables the all-new ASIMO to perform tasks with dexterity, such as picking up a glass bottle and twisting off the cap, or holding a soft paper cup to pour a liquid without squishing it. Moreover, ASIMO is now capable of making sign language expressions which require the complex movement of fingers.
|Grabbing a water bottle, opening the top and pouring the drink into a cup||Making the Japanese sign language expression of "family"|
Key specifications of the all-new ASIMO
|2. Weight||48kg (decreased 6kg from previous model)|
|3. Operating degrees of freedom||Total: 57 degrees of freedom (increase of 23 degrees of freedom from previous model)|
|4. Running speed||9km/hour (previous model: 6km/hour)|