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ASIMO Advances


by George Mitsuoka

Along with perfect weather and more than 150,000 humans, robots made a strong showing at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) January 5 – 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Some highlights:





American Honda Motor Co. Inc. wowed the crowds hourly with lively demonstrations by ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility), the most advanced humanoid robot on the planet. Showing its ability to walk, climb up and down stairs, avoid obstacles on its own, and even dance, ASIMO’s smooth and natural motion is uncannily human. The latest improvements include the ability to run, navigate while pushing a service cart, and move in sync with a person leading it by the hand. Current run-time is limited to about an hour using a lithium-ion battery pack, but Honda is working on a fuel-cell power source that could keep ASIMO running continuously. According to ASIMO Project Leader Stephen Keeney, ASIMO is already physically capable of working as a service robot; it is now a matter of improving the software. Honda hopes to bring ASIMO into consumers’ homes in about ten years.