IMAGE: AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROBOT AMAZES OBAMA IN A SHORT MEETING BETWEEN MAN AND MACHINE
If you’ve watched the recent video of President Barack Obama being greeted by a Japanese robot and you’ve felt like I did, then you’ve probably been awestricken too.
Watching a 4 ft 3, 106 lb, speaking, walking, running and playing humanoid robot engaging the President of the United States in a conversation was quite a spectacular moment.
And if you are like me, you’ve probably asked yourself – what, or perhaps more correctly, who is that robot?
If you have not, however, come across this unique video yet, please visit it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAXmz0seDc0 and tell us what you think!
So where did this robot come from?
First, the robot’s name is ASIMO – acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility – and it’s been around for quite a while now.
ASIMO first started as part of a robot-development project initiated almost three decades ago, in 1986, by Japanese car manufacturer Honda.
Honda’s objective was to create a human-looking robot able to function within and adapt to real-life human environments, assisting others in mobility-related tasks, especially in multi-functional ways to help those lacking full mobility.
After a series of prototypes, ASIMO, a humanoid robot with human-like motions, was unveiled to the public only 14 years after the beginning of the project, in 2000. The robot became, and still is, the ‘most advanced humanoid robot’ in the world, according to Honda.
Its ability to walk like a human, sense moving objects around it, recognize its surrounding environment, including sounds and faces, and register and respond to voice commands and human gestures truly make this innovation spectacular.
The robot is also capable of distinguishing between different sounds, enabling it to identify, for example, who is speaking through the person’s voice. The robot is furthermore able to respond to its name and speak in different languages.
With this impressive collection of human-like abilities, ASIMO quickly astounded the world, becoming a sort of robot sensation.
The humanoid started traveling the world to demonstrate its abilities to the public. It started appearing on TV and even met with high-profile personalities such as the King of Thailand, and more recently the American President. It featured in USA’s Disneyland too, where members of the public were able to meet ASIMO in a regular show called “Say ‘Hello’ to Honda’s ASIMO”.
An application, called ‘Run with ASIMO’, was also developed by Honda to allow individuals to learn more about ASIMO’s features and spread the word through social media.
Although an impressive piece of technology in its own right, ASIMO now empowers the devolvement of further technology projects in mobility assistance, such as Honda’s U3-X Personal Mobility or Stride Management Assist, which you can learn more about at http://asimo.honda.com/innovations/.
Honda explains that ‘most people think of [it] as an automobile company. But our main focus is and always has been human mobility. And innovation is our engine’.
This statement, and the impressive innovations that have come along with it, is exemplary of the 10X thinking that is changing our world.
The 10X philosophy, or in other words, thinking 10 times more than what was previously achieved is bound to engineer a new world with features and capabilities we would have never thought possible.
Will Honda redefine the automobile industry? Will it create a brand new one in the world of mobility? Will it revolutionize the very way we perceive mobility? Probably.
After his meeting with ASIMO and other robots, President Barack Obama told a crowd of students: “I have to say that the robots were a little scary, they were too lifelike. They were amazing.”
With the exponential growth that is characterizing the way technology is moving forward, what we are seeing today is just providing the basis for something much greater tomorrow. Much more, with much higher efficiencies and much bigger potential will be able to be achieved in much shorter time scales.
Hence, you can expect much more sophisticated artificial intelligence to come to life in our very near future and although this is still extremely difficult to fathom today, that is where we are quickly heading towards.