The most difficult type of robot to design and build is a humanoid or android (unless you use very large feet). The Honda Motor Company in Japan started research on biped (two footed) walking in 1986 producing the famous prototypes P1, P2, P3 and now Asimo. The latest, July 2005, Asimo (so far only seen in Japan) can run, momentarily lifting both feet off the ground on each step. Honda are continuing their research and consider that in 15 to 20 years time they will have added sufficient intelligence to the robot to enable it to learn from its environment. Over 400 engineers have now worked on the Honda humanoid project. Asimo can climb and descend stairs, turn while walking, maintain balance while being pushed forwards, backwards or sideways; and shake hands.
Honda are extremely generous in taking Asimo around the world to schools and careers events to generate interest and show young people some of the careers available in engineering.
Asimo has the computing power equivalent of 30 PCs.
The Japanese government have set industry the target of creating a robot football team to beat a human football team by the year 2050. Even if they do not succeed in their ambitous goal their aim will ensure that Japan will remain the world leader in robotics for the forseeable future