The latest version of the Honda ASIMO, announced in December, has 34 degrees of freedom and the ability to recognize the surrounding environment using visual, floor surface and ultrasonic sensors. It also receives data from an IC Tele-interaction Communication Card held by the person with whom ASIMO interacts. A head- mounted eye camera and force (kinesthetic) sensors in its wrists enable ASIMO to give and receive trays and other objects, and to hold the hand of a person while walking in sync. ASIMO can push a cart freely while maintaining an appropriate distance from the cart by adjusting the force of its right and left arms using force feedback sensors in its wrists. ASIMO runs at a speed of 6 km/hr (3.73 mph), stands 130 cm (4.27 feet) tall and weighs 54 Kg (119 pounds). How long before you will enjoy a house bot with analogous features? We at ROBOT believe this is coming sooner than you may think. To see fascinating video clips of ASIMO in motion, visit http://world.honda.com/ASIMO/new.
Photo by George Mitsuoka, shooting an 8-megapixel Canon EOS 20D digital SLR using a 17-85mm IS zoom at 26 mm. Exposure was 1/60 second at F4.6; auto white balance with pattern metering on AI focus.