Even robot astronauts dream of a visit from Santa apparently. In the first ever unscripted chat between Kirobo, the first robot conversant humanoid robot and Koichi Wakata, the Japanese commander of the International Space Station, he said he is expecting a visit from the most famous resident of the North Pole.
The pint-sized robot told Wakata, the first Japanese to command the ISS, he expects that Santa will visit them in space, while they are travelling in zero gravity. When the astronaut asked Kirobo what he wanted for Christmas, he said he wants a toy rocket. And because it’s the season for Christmas merriment, Kirobo wore a Santa hat and red booties for the occasion. The wide-eyed android and his interlocutor were able to spend around 7 minutes having a spontaneous conversation , including sharing with Wakata that he found it “exciting” when the rocket carrying him to space first launched.
The footage of the two chatting in Japanese was released earlier this month and is part of a project to see if a robot that is equipped with artificial intelligence can serve as a companion for isolated people. Kirobo’s developer, Tomotaka Takahashi, said that they previously had problems with the robot having a smooth conversation but since then, they’ve learned a lot of important tips to improve his social skills. “When people develop a relationship, it is an accumulation of small bits of communication. Small things make it work or not work,” shared Takahashi.
Kirobo and a twin android Mirata, who stayed on Earth, were created by advertising agency Dentsu, the University of Tokyo, robot developer Robo Garage and Toyota. He first went into space in August of this year, and he was eventually followed by Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio.
[ via Yahoo ]