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Posted: Nov 29, 2012
Humanoid communication robot will leave Japan for the International Space Station in summer 2013
(Nanowerk News) Dentsu Inc. announced that the humanoid communication robot being developed under the KIBO ROBOT PROJECT, a joint research project being carried out in collaboration with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo (RCAST) and ROBO GARAGE Co., Ltd., is expected to be completed in February 2013. In the summer of the same year, it will be sent to the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" in the International Space Station.
Humanoid communication robot Design sketchThe KIBO ROBOT PROJECT, whose aim is to create a humanoid communication robot that will be a companion for the Japanese astronauts who will be living in the Kibo Experiment Module, was jointly submitted by Dentsu, RCAST and ROBO GARAGE in response to the call last year from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (President: Keiji Tachikawa) for a feasibility study proposal on the theme of solving social issues in the experiment module. The proposal was accepted, and the project team has been working for more than a year on developing 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.
In winter 2013 the robot will come face-to-face with 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 robot with the same specifications will be built to serve as a backup and for demonstration purposes on Earth.
Together with leading engineering companies in Japan, RCAST and ROBO GARAGE have been working on the development of the robot hardware, while Dentsu has been involved in the creation of the conversation content. Toyota Motor Corporation (President: Akio Toyoda; hereinafter "Toyota"), a new addition to the project team, is responsible for the voice recognition and natural language processing functions that comprise the robot's intelligence. Through its participation in this project, Toyota will gather data and collate the accumulated technology that is instrumental to interactive services as well as the development of the "Toyota Partner Robot" that can coexist with people.
The project collaborators hope that the project's activities will disseminate Japan's technological strengths to the international community, and make a contribution to the development of industry and science education.