Monday, 12 July 2010
Robots are awesome!
Today's highly anticipated hot spot was the Miraikan - also known as the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, which is the home of Asimo.
For those of you who are unaware, Asimo is a robot created by Honda. His name is an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility. Though I'm sure the similarity with his name and Isaac Asimov, well known science-fiction writer responsible for a myriad of stories delving into the ethical dilemmas created by the 3 Laws of Robotics, has not escaped the notice of the creators. I had been really keen to see for myself what is considered to be one of the most advanced robots in existence.
I arrived at the museum just in time for Asimo's first demonstration for the day, and from the second he said 'Konnichi wa' I was transfixed. He truly is the most amazing construction I have ever seen. During the exhibition, Asimo walks, runs and kicks a ball, all demonstrating the robot's ability to maintain balance and mobility, proving what a advanced piece of machinery he is. He also shows the ability to see and recognise objects by discussing with the presenter the number of cameras in the audience.
I was so in awe of the little robot, that I returned in the afternoon, having seen all the other exhibits, to see the demonstration again. What really fascinated me the second time round was that although Asimo was doing the same things as the first show, it was not exactly the same, there were very human differences. The words he chose the second time round were not exactly the same, he was not standing in exactly the same place on the stage. It was like comparing two performances by a human actor, rehearsed well, but never identical.
He is a testament to the imagination of science-fiction writers, and the engineers who dare to make it fact. I am glad I had the opportunity to see him in the flesh. Well, flesh for one part, outer casing on the other.