Friday, 6th September 2013
In General Japan News,
Japanese robot makes first call home from space
A Japanese robot has become the first android to contact the Earth from space after safely arriving at the International Space Station (ISS).
Named Kirobo (derived from the Japanese words for 'hope' and 'robot') the diminutive robot looks more like a cute children's toy rather than a multi-million dollar piece of high-tech equipment.
But Kirobo is in fact an incredibly sophisticated android developed to serve as a companion to astronauts during extended explorations of space in the future.
He blasted off from Japan's Tanegashima Space Centre on a shuttle bound for the ISS on August 4th, arriving safely six days later.
And on August 21st he made his first communiqué back to Earth, a video of which was this week released by the robot's creators.
The video shows Kirobo floating within the confines of the ISS as he proclaims that: "On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all."
Standing at a little over 13 inches tall and with a weight of 2.2lbs, Kirobo was developed as part of a joint research project carried by Toyota Motor Corporation Robo Garage Co Ltd and the University of Tokyo's Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology, with support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The robot is one of the most advanced ever built when it comes to its ability to interaction with humans and his able to recognise facial features as well as talk in Japanese.
Kirobo is set to welcome Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the ISS, when he arrives aboard later this year. He will then take part in the world's first conversation experiment held between a person and a robot in outer space
As well as sending messages back to his creators on Earth, Kirobo will be able to post messages along with photos he takes of the ISS on Twitter and other social media sites for the world to see.
Written by Andy Mackay