Honda's Asimo: the penalty-taking, bar-tending robot (video)

Asimo and mat
5 Aug, 2014 10:18am

We meet Honda's robot Asimo in Brussels, where he plays football, dances and even serves a drink!

Honda's robot Asimo has been designed to interact with humans. So if you reach out your hand it will shake it - sensors in its palm detect your touch while cameras in its head track your movements. Asimo’s stabilising technology enables it to react if you upset its balance, moving backwards mid shake if you push it or stepping in if you pull it towards you.

This latest version of Asimo is the product of almost three decades of development.

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It all started back in 1986 when Honda built a robot which could walk, albeit very slowly and clumsily. In 1988 it was developed to walk more like a human and in 1993 a torso was added. By 1996 Honda’s robot had become intimidatingly large so in 1997 it was shrunken to a less threatening size, thankfully, before being made autonomous. In 2000 Honda unveiled Asmio which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. Standing 130cm tall - the same height as a seated adult – it’s the perfect size for helping out around the home.

Over the years Asimo has been constantly developed and it’s now mobile enough to play sports.

However, it’s wise to warm up before any physical exercise, even for a robot, and as well as run at 6mph Asimo can walk backwards and hop.

It can also kick a ball so we made some time for a quick robot vs human penalty shootout. But is Asimo as good at saving a shot as it is taking one?

Football is thirsty work, but thankfully Asimo can get you some refreshments. With hands that have 13 degrees of freedom it’s able to perform delicate tasks such as opening a bottle and pouring a drink. This may be unremarkable for a human but it’s an incredible achievement for a robot.

In total Asimo has 57 degrees of freedom and this allows it to dance – while its 52 volt battery can keep it going for 40 minutes. Looks like this robot actually has better moves than some humans...