Kibo Robot To ‘Hang Out’ With Japanese Astronauts On ISS
December 3, 2012
Kibo the robot will be sent to the International Space Station in the summer of 2013.
AsianScientist (Dec. 3, 2012) – A humanoid communication robot called Kibo that is being developed by Dentsu Inc., the University of Tokyo, and ROBO Garage Co. Ltd. is expected to be completed by February 2013.
Kibo will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in the summer of 2013, as a humanoid companion for Japanese astronauts who will be living in the Kibo Experiment Module aboard the ISS.
The proposal for Kibo was jointly submitted by Dentsu, the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST) at the University of Tokyo, and ROBO GARAGE in response to an open call last year from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). JAXA had called for a feasibility study proposal that would address socialization issues in the experiment module.
After the proposal was accepted, the team – called the Kibo Robot Project – worked for more than a year on a robot that can communicate with the astronauts via autonomous actions and remote operations. The robot will also transmit information from the Kibo module to Earth.
Kibo weighs 1 kg, and is 34 cm tall, 18 cm wide, and 15 cm in thickness. He speaks Japanese, and his main features include speech recognition, natural language processing, speech synthesis, telecommunications functions, communication actions, a facial recognition camera, and a recording camera.
In the winter of 2013, Kibo will meet Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station, and will take part in the world’s first conversation experiment held between a person and a robot in outer space.
A second Kibo robot with the same specifications will be built for demonstration purposes on Earth and serve as a back-up.
The robot hardware was developed by RCAST and ROBO GARAGE, while Kibo’s vocabulary was developed by Dentsu. Toyota Motor Corporation was responsible for Kibo’s artificial intelligence, such as his voice recognition and natural language processing functions.
Toyota hopes to use Kibo’s technology to develop a commercial Toyota Partner Robot that can coexist with people.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
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