Honda’s New Asimo Robot Coming to New York Auto Show

Asimo 1 photo
Photo: Honda
Honda isn’t just bringing cars to this year’s New York, as the Japanese automaker announced an updated version of the Asimo robot will be on show during this month’s biggest auto event.
Short for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, Asimo now has new tricks, including the ability to sign in both Japanese and American sign language, to run faster than previously, climb stairs more smoothly, hop, jump, balance on one foot, and transition seamlessly between walking and running.

"ASIMO was designed to help those in society who need assistance, and Honda believes that these improvements in ASIMO bring us another step closer to our ultimate goal of being able to help all kinds of people in need," said Satoshi Shigemi, Senior Chief Engineer with Honda R&D Co., Ltd. in Japan, responsible for humanoid robotics.

This is the more compact version of the robot we’re talking about. It’s much smaller than a human at 4'3" tall (130 cm), weighs 110 lbs (50 kg), and is made of magnesium alloy, plastic resin and other materials. It can make simple judgements about objects, remember them and has advanced motor skills. It’s a marvel of robotics, this thing!

The days when the Sony Walkman was king and Sega made all the good games are gone, but Japan is still a world leader in robotics. To explain why Honda is dumping millions into this project, it would be easy to point at their aging demographic. But the Japanese don’t make robots to take care of the elderly, they do it because they like to. A recent study on robot anime conducted by the government found that roots of this form of geeky art date back to the 1960s. There’s even a company that makes grave tombstones in the shape of robots in Japan.

Asimo is a very clever robot. Just how clever you can find out from the next video, which is a 2013 demonstration from an American TV show.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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