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Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever (Video)

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On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 1:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever (Video)

After several years of covering the technology industry, one of the trends that I found was that the entire field of robotics seemed to have been created just so that we had robot-servants to get us beer out of the fridge while we while the days away watching television or tanning on a lounge chair. Forget production automation, space exploration or other potentially life-changing objectives, robot after robot was created to keep man lubricated and jovial with Heineken upon Heineken.

While I ran into numerous beer-popping robots in the technology world, this Honda ASIMO is the first I've come across in the automotive world. It's also one of the most human-like and awesome robots I've seen.

ASIMO has been around for years, but Honda unveiled its latest version of the advanced bot this week. In its latest build, ASIMO has gained many skills formerly reserved for actual human beings. The robot can walk around by itself, assessing the space around it through a series of sensors and making decisions as to where and how to walk. The robot can even detect a person walking toward it and adjust its path accordingly to avoid bumping into him.

ASIMO previously required control by a human operator, but has made the leap from "automatic machine" to "autonomous machine," according to Honda. It has also developed some fine motor skills, including the ever-important ability to open and pour a bottle into a cup.

So it would appear that ASIMO could chill with you in front of some Saturday afternoon college football, find its way to the refrigerator on its own and pour you a fresh beer in your favorite Roll Tide glass.

Personally, I'd settle for it just grabbing the beer and bringing it back, but I suppose the glass adds a little extra class to the robot-human interaction.

Honda didn't spend all that time and money building a robot just to fetch beers from the break room fridge; it plans to continue developing robotic technology under a new 'Honda Robotics' division and will use it toward practical applications like mass production. So watch out, Honda factory workers: your time on the line may be limited.

As you'll see in the video below, the thing is so natural it's almost creepy. If we didn't know better, we'd swear there was a human beneath that space-like suit.



Honda has unveiled an all-new ASIMO humanoid robot with a world-first technology allowing ASIMO to move without being controlled by an operator. With significantly improved intelligence and the physical ability to adapt to situations, ASIMO has taken another step closer to practical use in an office or public space.

Honda has also introduced a new task-performing robot arm. This experimental model was developed while applying multi-joint and posture control technologies to ASIMO. This robot arm can be controlled remotely to perform tasks in places which are difficult for people to access.

To represent all of Honda's robotic technologies and products such as ASIMO, Honda has established the new collective name 'Honda Robotics'. Under this name Honda will continue the development and research of humanoid robots and will also focus on applying the robotic technologies to mass-produced products and putting them into practical use.

All-new ASIMO

The all-new ASIMO has taken a step forward from being an "automatic machine" to an "autonomous machine". It now has the ability to make decisions based on its surroundings and the movements of people.

At the beginning of the development process, the following three factors were identified as necessary for a robot to perform as an autonomous machine:

High level balancing ability - maintaining its posture by putting out its leg in an instant.
External recognition capability - takes in information, such as the movements of people, from multiple sensors and predicts the changes that may take place.
The ability to generate autonomous behaviour - making predictions from gathered information and determine the next movement without being controlled by an operator.
Once these had been identified Honda went about developing the technologies required to make them possible.

Advanced intelligence capability
Honda has developed a new system that is key for advanced intelligence. The new system continuously evaluates the input from multiple sensors, predicts the situation and then determines the behaviour of the robot. With this technology ASIMO is now capable of responding to the movement of people and the surrounding situations. For instance, ASIMO can now predict the direction a person will walk and quickly determine an alternative path to take if a collision is detected. This technology also enables ASIMO to recognise faces and voices.

Advanced physical ability
The combination of strengthened legs, an expanded range of leg movement and a newly developed control technology enables ASIMO to change landing positions mid-movement. This new agility also gives ASIMO the flexibility to adapt to changing situations so that it can walk on uneven surfaces.

Improved task-performing ability
Honda has developed a highly functional compact multi-fingered hand, which has a tactile sensor and a force sensor imbedded on the palm and in each finger. Combined with the object recognition technology, this multi-fingered hand enables the all-new ASIMO to perform tasks with dexterity, such as picking up a glass bottle and twisting off the cap, or holding a soft paper cup without squashing it. Moreover, ASIMO is now capable of making sign language expressions which require the complex movement of fingers.

Task-performing robot arm
Technologies developed for ASIMO were applied to an experimental model of a task-performing robot arm. The robot arm moves on a self-propelled base and was designed with the idea of being utilised at disaster sites or other places too dangerous for people to work.

The stability control technology used for ASIMO's walking and running were applied to stabilise the end of the arm even on unstable surfaces. The application of other ASIMO technologies such as the multi-joint control technology that controls as many as 57 motors imbedded in the joints of the arms and legs, has enabled the robot arm to approach an object and perform necessary tasks even in a narrow space with unstable footing and many obstacles.



Stephy21 | 10:27AM (Tue, Nov 15, 2011)

At least this robot will be good for some thing.

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