Honda ASIMO - an advanced step for robots

Modified On Feb 06, 2016 12:08 PM By Bala Subramaniam

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Today, we all know Honda ASIMO as the white robot that walks smoothly, can kick a football, assist us our daily day activities like bringing us things and much more. But, the ASIMO we see today is the accumulation of over three decades of research and development that Honda has been involved in. We take a look at what started as small steps in robotics and has now gron into something everyone envies.

So, Honda’s interest in the world of humanoid robots began to take significant strides when they first started to develop two-legged prototypes in 1980s. The first model was from the Honda E series (E1, E2, E3), which focused on developing legs that could simulate the walk of a human. The company then started to focus on walk stabilisation and stair climbing through E4, E5 and E6.

To give the robot more balance and functionality, Honda next created their first humanoid robot, P1, which was 6-feet 2-inches tall. The P series, produced between 1993 and 1997, improved the P1 design with a more friendly design and incorporated several other features like improved walking, stair climbing/descending, and wireless automatic movements.

Honda then applied the knowledge they accumulated from the E and P series to create ASIMO, short for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, which was unveiled in 2000. ASIMO can run, walk on uneven slopes and surfaces, turn smoothly, climb stairs, reach for and grasp objects, comprehend and respond to simple voice commands.

Using its camera eyes, ASIMO can recognise the face of a select group of individuals, map its environment as well as register stationary objects and avoid moving obstacles - as it moves through its environment.

Honda has plans to use the knowledge acquired from ASIMO for several applications such as personal mobility, exoskeletons, etc. The real world applications are wide, as robots can be used where it is difficult or impossible for humans to operate.

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