A humanoid robot that will be serving as a companion and communications device to Japanese astronauts living in the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” on the International Space Station is expected to be completed by February next year. This was the announcement made by Dentsu, Inc. who is part of the joint effort to make the robot.
The KIBO ROBOT PROJECT is a collaboration between Tokyo University’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), ROBO GARAGE Co., Ltd., and Dentsu Inc., in response to a proposal made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The agency called for a study on solving social issues, such as communication, in the Kibo experiment module. The robot will be able to communicate with astronauts through autonomous actions and remote operations and also send information from the module to Earth. The project also hopes to demonstrate Japan’s technological advancements to the world, as well as contribute to the development of science and technology in general.
When the robot is finished, it will be launched into outer space in summer 2013 and, by winter, it should come face to face with Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. It will be the first conversation between a human and a robot in outer space. Japanese car maker Toyota, who has also earned a reputation in the robotics industry, has recently joined the group and will be taking care of voice recognition and natural language processing.[ via Nano Werk ]