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Japanese talking robot ready for trip to Space Station

A talking robot developed by Japan’s Toyota is to be transported in early August to the International Space Station. The small robot, which Kirobo called, is designed to be able to converse with people.

Kirobo is a contraction of the Japanese word for hope, kibo, and robot. The little robot was in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and more Robo Garage developed by Toyota. Kirobo is only 34 inches tall and weighs about two pounds. For physical activity, the robot is therefore not developed Kirobo must keep conversations going with the astronauts of the International Space Station. To this end Kirobo equipped with voice recognition software, a camera for face recognition: the robot must be able to process natural language and recognize emotions.

On 4 August Kirobo must be transported by cargo rocket to the ISS and will in the Japanese module, called Kibo, are delivered. Since the language of the robot is Japanese, Kirobo will have to wait for his first conversation to December: Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will only go to the ISS in November. Kirobo will stay another year in the ISS: around December 2014 is scheduled return flight. In preparation for his weightless stay at the ISS has undergone tests Kirobo during parabolic flights. Was Mirata, a second, similar robot, however, not designed with weightlessness to go, remains on earth so that any technical problems easier to solve.

Although Kirobo no actual contribution to the ISS is expected, think the makers of the robot that Kirobo an ambassadorial role will fulfill. They hope Kirobo will demonstrate that natural interactions between robots and humans in the future are possible. That would especially for robots deployed in and around the house are going to be important.


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