US President Barack Obama‘s state visit to Japan was not all serious business, as he took time to get a demonstration of the country’s high-tech capabilities. Often described as a “geek” at heart, the world’s most famous leader was introduced to Honda‘s humanoid Asimo and other robots, which ultimately, he found impressive but a little bit scary.
Obama toured the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and the 55-inch-tall robot, which looks like a kid Storm Trooper, greeted him, saying, “Welcome to Miraikan, Mr. President, it is a pleasure to meet you.” Asimo then started showing off what he could do, including running fast, tossing around a soccer ball with the President, and his latest learned skill, jumping up and down. Obama asked Miraikan’s Chief Executive Director Mamoru Mohri if the robot was remote-controlled and he was told that although he has human controllers, Asimo can also act autonomously.
He also met some other robots at the museum, including one that is partially funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in order to develop androids that can assist in disaster relief operations. However, Obama later said that he found the robots “amazing” but “a little scary” since they were too life-like. Aside from holding a bilateral summit with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama also had an audience with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He also briefly met with the relatives of the Japanese nationals who were abducted by North Korea in the 70s and 80s to pledge that the US will closely work with Japan to help resolve this issue.
[ via New York Post ]
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