ASIMO Robot: A Great Advancement in Technological Intelligence

November 15, 2011

I saw this video and found it fascinating that Honda has come so far in developing this robot that replicates human motion. Honda has always been known as a mobility company—first developing motorcycles and then automobiles. Not many people know that Honda also has a research department that has been focused on developing this robot, known as ASIMO, for many, many years.

As it says on Honda’s website, “That passion for the advancement of mobility has led us to the creation of ASIMO, one of the world’s most sophisticated humanoid robots. Building ASIMO was an incredible challenge for Honda engineers. It is the result of years of research in many scientific fields.”

I see this development as the next frontier. Technology has encroached nearly all of our lives in such a massive way. We have busier lives and I suppose the logical thing is to design a device which utilizes our developments in technology to do the mundane jobs we would prefer not to do or don’t have time to do—such as laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, etc. It’s only natural that we as humans would be scared or apprehensive to share our homes with a robot. This might be partly due to the fact that most movies portray robots as the ‘bad guys’ and that fear has been instilled into us. (Perhaps too many people have been watching Terminator movies!)

The video below gives a very small insight into how to overcome that instinct of fear. It discusses our obsession with robots and what lies behind that with opinions from science-fiction screenwriters, professors, philosophers, engineers, and other thinkers. I think it’s interesting that a company like Honda can bankroll such an intensive and costly project for so many years before they would see any return. This ASIMO project has spurned several offshoot projects, such as devices that would help people who find it difficult to walk.

As Honda’s website says, “Honda engineers created ASIMO for the sole purpose of helping people. ASIMO has the unique ability to walk forward, backward, side step and even climb stairs with human-like agility. With the capability to navigate and operate in our world, ASIMO will be able to perform tasks to assist people, especially those lacking full mobility. ASIMO will serve as another set of eyes, ears, hands and legs for all kinds of people in need, and will provide them with a new sense of independence and mobility in their everyday lives.”

Ultimately, it is the design with a myriad of sciences woven together and the humans pushing boundaries that intrigues me most about this project. You can read more about the project here, as well as see a more detailed video below.

Written By: Mickey McCann, Industrial Designer

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