The history of ASIMO humanoid robot

Asimo presentation in Paris 2002
Following a research program initiated in 1986 with the P-0 prototype, Honda presented in 2000 -just in time for the 21st century- the Asimo humanoid robot.
Honda’s ambitions on robotics are multiple : in a country where the population grows older year by year, the problem of assisting older people in their everyday life will become more and more accurate. Robots are thought of by many as one of the ways of solving this problem. Yet the technology still has lots to prove before accessing that kind of uses…
In what sounds more like a marketting baseline, Honda mentions “the power of dreams” as one of the reasons for the existence of the Humanoid Robot project. By that we should understand : creating humanoid robots has long been a dream , and making dreams come true is Honda’s moto.
Then again, Honda also states that robots will become an important part of our life within the new century; and they will thus represent a significant market, of which Honda intends to take it’s share.

After 14 years of developments, mostly focused on the dynamics of a robotic humanoid body, Asimo is the first humanoid robot to be actually available on the market (rental only, and at a tremendeous cost too). It is said that IBM, in Japan, uses an Asimo as a host in an IBM plant lobby.

So what’s the big deal with humanoid robots?

As i’ve mentionned, humanoids robots are intended to share humans life. It is thus important for them to be able to evolve in an everyday human environment. Imagine a robot that should “live” in an appartement. If it was equiped with wheels, it would be basically able to wander around, but only until it would meet stairs or steps. Take it out of the appartement, and the same limitations would apply in an urban environment. As a matter of fact, humans have legs, and their environment is designed accordingly. This is why a robot with legs seems more adapted to sharing lifespace with humans.
The same thoughts apply to the upper structure of the robot. If you want your robot to be able to actually walk around in your appartment, it should be able to open doors. You would then have a choice : adapt your entire appartment to make your robot able to open adapted doors by the use of a specific system; or include in your robot design some kind of device that would deal with common doors. If you do that, you may want to also equip your robot with devices that could take/move/transport objects. Also, it could be useful that your robot would be able to push buttons. Again, the human environment is adapted to human bodies, and human have arms and hands. So should your robot too.

Click here to view Asimo walking down a stair (2.66Mo AVI video)

Another important issue about designing a humanoid robot is the social interactions with humans. Many research projects around the world focus on that question : what will make a robot socially acceptable in a human surrounding?
Some projects, like Sony’s world famous Aibo robot dog and Asimo use the following approach : it is important not to disguise Artificial Intelligence into what it is not. It is thus important to give the robot an external appearance that would fit it’s actual potential. In human interactions, people usually expect different kind of response from different kind of interactors. Interacting with the surrounding world, one will not expect the same kind of response from a dog, a business man in suit, a vending machine or a child. The robot has the potential ability to adopt any of those outfits. In order to have the robot accepted in the everyday life of a human, the robot design should be carefully designed accordingly to it’s actual potential, it’s goal and it’s environment.

Asimo is not a toy, and it is not an actual human. It’s body is the size of a small adult and it’s appearance is sober and soft, yet functionnal. It’s “face” is both robotic (as the helmet suggests) and familiar, with the symbolics of the big round eyes suggesting that the robot is like a child that has to learn it’s environment.

If the first version of Asimo was basically a smaller-sized version of the earlier P-2 and P-3 robots; Honda now focus on breathing artificial intelligence into the newer versions.
The first evolution is the “i-Walk” technology. Whereas it used to be remote-controlled, Asimo’s walking technology is now able of anticipating the robot’s next moves, thus controlling the walking systems in a much more “natural” way. AI systems also include image and voice recognition (asimo is able to turn to someone who speaks to it, and recognize the person. It will also recognize certain gestures). Asimo will obei to several orders : ordering “come here” while pointing to a location will make Asimo move to the designated location and turn to the person who ordered it.

The way ASIMO works

Introduction to How ASIMO Works

Want a robot to cook your dinner, do your homework, clean your house, or get your groceries? Robots already do a lot of the jobs that we humans don’t want to do, can’t do, or simply can’t do as well as our robotic counterparts. In factories around the world, disembodied robot arms assemble cars, delicately place candies into their boxes, and do all sorts of tedious jobs. There are even a handful of robots on the market whose sole job is to vacuum the floor or mow your lawn. ASIMO Image Gallery The ASIMO Robot Photo courtesy Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Honda’s ASIMO robot. See more ASIMO images. Many of us grew up watching robots on TV and in the movies: There was Rosie, the Jetsons’ robot housekeeper; Data, the android crewmember on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; and of course, C3PO from “Star Wars.” The robots being created today aren’t quite in the realm of Data or C3PO, but there have been some amazing advances in their technology. Honda engineers have been busy creating the ASIMO robot for more than 20 years. In this article, we’ll find out what makes ASIMO the most advanced humanoid robot to date. Can’t be Too Careful It has been reported that because ASIMO’s walk is so eerily human-like, Honda engineers felt compelled to visit the Vatican just to make sure it was okay to build a machine that was so much like a human. (The Vatican thought it was okay.) The Honda Motor Company developed ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, and is the most advanced humanoid robot in the world. According to the ASIMO Web site, ASIMO is the first humanoid robot in the world that can walk independently and climb stairs. In addition to ASIMO’s ability to walk like we do, it can also understand preprogrammed gestures and spoken commands, recognize voices and faces and interface with IC Communication cards. ASIMO has arms and hands so it can do things like turn on light switches, open doors, carry objects, and push carts. Rather than building a robot that would be another toy, Honda wanted to create a robot that would be a helper for people — a robot to help around the house, help the elderly, or help someone confined to a wheelchair or bed. ASIMO is 4 feet 3 inches (1.3 meters) high, which is just the right height to look eye to eye with someone seated in a chair. This allows ASIMO to do the jobs it was created to do without being too big and menacing. Often referred to as looking like a “kid wearing a spacesuit,” ASIMO’s friendly appearance and nonthreatening size work well for the purposes Honda had in mind when creating it.

Human like function of ASIMO robot

From Honda Motor Co.comes a new small, lightweight humanoid robot named ASIMO that is able to walk in a manner which closely resembles that of a human being.

One area of Honda’s basic research has involved the pursuit of developing an autonomous walking robot that can be helpful to humans as well as be of practical use in society. Research and development on this project began in 1986. In 1996 the prototype P2 made its debut, followed by P3 in 1997.

“ASIMO” is a further evolved version of P3 in an endearing people-friendly size which enables it to actually perform tasks within the realm of a human living environment. It also walks in a smooth fashion which closely resembles that of a human being. The range of movement of its arms has been significantly increased and it can now be operated by a new portable controller for improved ease of operation.

ASIMO Special Features:
Smaller and Lightweight
More Advanced Walking Technology
Simple Operation
Expanded Range of Arm Movement
People-Friendly Design

Small & Lightweight Compared to P3, ASIMO’s height was reduced from 160cm to 120cm and its weight was reduced from 130kg to a mere 43kg. A height of 120cm was chosen because it was considered the optimum to operate household switches, reach doorknobs in a human living space and for performing tasks at tables and benches. By redesigning ASIMO’s skeletal frame, reducing the frame’s wall thickness and specially designing the control unit for compactness and light weight, ASIMO was made much more compact and its weight was reduced to a remarkable 43kg.

Advanced Walking Technology Predicted Movement Control (for predicting the next move and shifting the center of gravity accordingly) was combined with existing walking control know-how to create i-WALK (intelligent real-time flexible walking) technology, permitting smooth changes of direction. Additionally, because ASIMO walks like a human, with instant response to sudden movements, its walking is natural and very stable.

Simple Operation To improve the operation of the robot, flexible walking control and button operation (for gesticulations and hand waving) can be carried out by either a workstation or from the handy portable controller.

Expanded Range of Movement By installing ASIMO’s shoulder’s 20 degrees higher than P3, elbow height was increased to 15 degrees over horizontal, allowing a wider range of work capability. Also, ASIMO’s range of vertical arm movement has been increased to 105 degrees, compared to P3’s 90-degree range.

People-Friendly Design In addition to its compact size, ASIMO features a people-friendly design that is attractive in appearance and easy to live with.

About the Name
ASIMO is an abbreviation for “Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility”; revolutionary mobility progressing into a new era.

Weight: 43kg
Height: 1,200mm
Depth: 440mm Width 450mm
Walking Speed: 0 – 1.6km/h
Operating Degrees of Freedom*
Head: 2 degrees of freedom
Arm: 5 x 2 = 10 degrees of freedom
Hand: 1 x 2 = 2 degrees of freedom
Leg: 6 x 2 = 12 degrees of freedom
TOTAL: 26 degrees of freedom
Actuators: Servomotor + Harmonic Decelerator + Drive ECU
Controller: Walking/Operation Control ECU, Wireless Transmission ECU Sensors – Foot: 6-axis sensor
Torso: Gyroscope & Deceleration Sensor
Power Source: 38.4V/10AH (Ni-MN)
Operation: Work Station & Portable Controller

*Degrees of Freedom: The human joint has one degree of freedom for each range of movement; forward/ backward, up/down and rotation.

The chronology and history of P3 and ASIMO

In science fiction, humans often interact with life-like robots who can perform a wide range of functions. Though currently we are nowhere near the sophistication of Star Wars’ C3PO, Honda is making great strides in that direction. ASIMO, Honda’s human-like robot can perform and amazing array of activities that before only humans could.

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Honda began developing the prototypes to the Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, or “ASIMO,” in 1986. The first three models (E1 through E3) focused on what engineers felt was the most difficult task; walking on two legs. The following three models (E4 through E6) focused on balancing those legs. Those first six prototypes took a combined six years to perfect. These were followed by “humanoid prototype models” in 1993, 1996 and 1997 and were numbered P1, P2 and P3 respectively. P1 was over 6 feet tall and weighed almost 400 pounds. By the P3 model, the size and weight of the ASIMO prototypes were a mere five foot two inches tall and weighed just under 300 pounds. At this point the P model prototypes had the ability to walk, climb and descend stairs as well as complete a handful of other engineer-controlled movements. The first true ASIMO debuted in 2000 and was improved upon; ASIMO “for hire” was produced in 2001, “intelligent” ASIMO in 2002, “next-gen” ASIMO in 2004 and “New” ASIMO in 2005. Throughout those model iterations, the functionality of ASIMO was improved and advanced. Currently, there are 47 ASIMOs in operation.
ASIMO has mastered basic functions such as walking, running, dancing, and climbing stairs and uneven terrain. Additionally, ASIMO has been programmed to understand a limited amount of verbal and non-verbal commands. Honda engineers have also programmed ASIMO to grasp objects with its hands, to remember faces, and to be able to remember rooms as it walks through them, so that when it returns, it can navigate it more easily.
According to Honda, ASIMO was meant to be a helper to human beings in a household environment, particularly people who are bed-ridden or in wheelchairs. ASIMO’s size is deliberately set at four feet tall to “look” its owner in the face. Currently, however, ASIMO is only used in Japan and is mostly used as a guide in museums or as a greeter of visitors for some companies. There are currently no plans to sell ASIMO in the United States.
ASIMO is a specific type of robot called an “Android” meaning “human-like.” As an android, ASIMO has been programmed to do a number of human-like things. Famously, the “next-gen” ASIMO showed off its dance moves (perhaps ironically doing the “Robot” to techno music) in 2004. The “new” ASIMO took that appreciation of music a step further and played a violin. Later, Honda executives staged a publicity stunt where ASIMO conducted an orchestra.
Additionally, ASIMO can use its programming to recognize when a collision is imminent and can avoid it smoothly. This applies to stationary and moving objects as well; one of ASIMO’s feats was avoiding another ASIMO; both ASIMOs were able to detect small shifts in each other’s movements and correct themselves accordingly, proving that ASIMO could “think” its way out of a situation.
Though ASIMO can “think” its way out of simple situations or recognize faces, it is not a true “Artificial Intelligence” or AI. To be considered an AI, ASIMO must be self-aware (in other words, it knows that it is a computer) and it needs to be able to teach itself. Currently, ASIMO only knows what its programmers “tell” it through software coding. Still, the abilities of ASIMO are steps toward AI status; problem solving, noticing differences and recognizing individuals.
Expert Insight
It is perhaps ironic that in 1970 a Japanese scientist named Masahiro Mori first postulated the so-called “uncanny valley” in relation to robots. In essence, Mori postulated that as robots come to look and more more like humans, the more humans would be repulsed by robots. Somewhere deep inside human beings, there is the sense that “something isn’t right” about the robot and that sense translates into fascination, revulsion and fear. While humans can “forgive” the odd movements of a somewhat-humanoid ASIMO, if a similar robot had a latex face which moved when it “talked” or walked or did any of those actions, it would activate the “uncanny valley” reflex. Zombie-like movement in horror films, prosthetic limbs and other unnatural movements also activate the “uncanny valley” feeling in humans.

The succees of ASIMO

Honda take the opportunity in the development of the two-legged humanoid robot that can walk like humans. This Honda’s humanoid robots are small size, lightweight, and called Asimo (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), a robot revolution in the new era which robots have a style looks like a man when running.

One of the reasons Honda robot Asimo created in the past few years is to develop robots that can run itself, which help the human, as the practice of their use in the community. Research and development of robot Asimo began in 1996 with a prototype robot P2, and in 1997 in the format of P3 robot.

Asimo robots including the prototype of P3, which may be smooth and without a voice. With a high body Asimo about 120 cm eyes will be visible with the eye of the adults when adults sit in the chair. Asimo more lightweight than P3, the higher 40 cm and 87 kg more weight than the Asimo. With the weight of 43 kg, Asimo can operate household appliances, to reach the door knob, dance, and run the household tasks.

Asimo robot has a walk Advanced Technology which is able to estimate and control the movement in accordance with the direction of gravity, combined with the control that is already running, namely, technology iWalk (intelligent real-time, flexible walking). A combination of both technologies can change the direction of the fine, so it looks natural and stable as human beings. Operation of the robot using the method to Simple Operation, smoothing the way for the robots, control run which are flexible, and key operations (from the signal of movement and wave hands), which can be operated from portable workstation or control, which was installed in the hand. Expansion of distance movement Asimo can be done by adding a movement of shoulder angle around 20 degrees and high angle of about 15 degrees horizontally, the upper arm vertical movement of 105 degrees, far wider than the P3 robot.

The following are specifications of Asimo robot from Honda:

* Weight: 43kg
* Height: 1.200 mm
* Thickness: 440mm
* Length: 450mm
* Speed run: 0 – 1.6km / h
* Degrees of freedom movement of the head: 2 degrees
* Degrees freedom of movement of arms: 5 x 2 = 10 degrees
* Degrees of freedom of movement: 1 x 2 = 2 degrees
* Degrees of freedom footwork: 6 x 2 = 12 degrees
* Total freedom of movement degrees: 26 degrees
* Precursor robots: Servomotor + + Decelerator Harmonic Drive ECU
* Checker: walk / Operation Control ECU, ECU Wireless Transmission Sensor
* Sensor feet: 6-axis
* Sensor body: Gyroscope & Deceleration
* Source of energy: 38.4V/10AH (Ni-MN)
* Operation: Work Station & Portable Controller
* Excess robot Asimo:
o Small and lightweight
o walk Technology advanced
o a broad movement of arms
o Design a people-friendly
o How operation is easy

A robot bodies balancers : solve walking probelems

Daan Hobbelen engineer at the University of Delft, developed the robot Flame consists of seven devices, an organ of balance. Several algorithms allow it to find and keep balance. Flame can perform 20 to 25 no, while his predecessor, Meta, could make almost a hundred until it reaches a wall. Meta could also overcome obstacles and make no 3 cm high, while humans typically rise 5 to 6 cm. Hobbelen believes that Flame will be able to walk that way in a few months and may move more laterally.
Continue reading

Robot”s “taste sensor” : Visualizing Taste with the Eyes

Is it possible to communicate “taste” using your other senses? Is it possible to express it numerically? Is it possible to objectively represent it using a machine?

Electric signals obtained from the sensor are converted to taste quality based on the Weber-Fechner law which gives an approximately accurate generalization of the intensity of sensation. The base of logarithm is defined as 1.2. For example, 12.5 units means 10 times higher concentration than that of the original sample, and 25 units is 100 times higher concentration. After the simple conversion, we can visualize the taste as “taste map”. The axis shows taste and each unit represents the intensity of tastes.

There is an infinite variety of answers to those questions. “It’s impossible to quantify taste or communicate it to others because taste is very individual.” “Taste is subjective, and therefore cannot be measured numerically.” “I can appreciate taste, and so why does it need to be quantified using a machine?”

These answers were all made by self-claimed academic experts during the early stage of the development of a “taste sensor” (about 10 years ago). A “taste sensor” is “equipment, apparatus or a device that measures taste”.

The question that needs to be asked before exploring the nature of “taste” is whether or not “taste” is actually measurable, with the answer to that being “Yes”. This can be explained for physiological reasons. “Taste” is determined at the level of the nerve fibers, which then connect with gustatory cells. “Taste” is made up of five basic taste sensations: sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and umami. The fifth taste sensation, “umami” or savory, was discovered as an independent taste sensation by the Kiyoshi Toko & his teams, and is therefore known as “Umami” in English too. Continue reading

Japanese PREZENTOVALI “Facilities” Robots ANDROIDA

“Facilities” robot postiral shirt in the car and vymyl sex shvabroy. This happened in front of venerable public Oct. 24 during a presentation androida at the University of Tokyo (University of Tokyo), specialists who along with seven leading Japanese companies have submitted an interim result of large-scale project for the development of robot assistants to support an aging population.

On the initiative of IRT – connecting IT (information technology) and RT (robot) – we were told at the time of its launch in summer 2006. Now the consortium, which among others included Toyota, Panasonic and Mitsubishi, have something to show. This robot AR (Assistant Robot).

According to the Robot Watch, 130-kg android has an impressive growth of 1550 mm. His breadth of 650, and the depth – 770 mm. Placed “on board” battery allows the machine to work within 30-60 minutes, depending on load.  Continue reading

Composition of a Robot

Here we present various materials used on a robot

Engines and mechanical parts for cheap

-Batteries new generation Li-Ion / Li-Po and even brand new Lithium Iron Phosphate / A123
-Regulated power supplies

-Contact switches to detect collisions with the environment of the robot
-Obstacle detection by infra-red thanks to proximity sensor IR
-Measuring ambient light to make adjustments in intensity other sensors
-Motorized potentiometer settings for automated
-Knob “softpot” for manual adjustments for
-Counting the time with the DS1307 clock to organize the operation of the robot
-Modules with various sensors compatible with this bus
-Lasers can be very effective beacons Continue reading

A humanoid robot to imitate human emotions-Videoconferencing

Bristol, England – A team of scientists from the Robotics Laboratory of Bristol developed the first humanoid able to imitate the facial expressions and lip movements of a human observing.

Jules, it is called, is appointed as a head and neck but can instantly copy the movement faces of people he observes with video cameras and tiny electronic motors hidden under the skin of his face. It can crack a wide smile, grin, riding his forehead and “talk” with the software it is equipped, and that translates into real-time human expressions he observes through his eyes equipped with video cameras.  Continue reading