What looks more like someone in a space suit is nothing less than HONDA’s most advanced humanoid robot “ASIMO”. (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility). ASIMO, however, was not made for space but rather to be a helper to people. He has a wide range of abilities that enable him to fulfill his purpose. Here are just mentioned a few:
- recognize moving objects, postures, gestures, its surrounding environment, faces, voices
- interaction with people, i.e. handshakes, following someone, interpreting voice commands, identifying people by their voice
- walking speed of 2.7 km/h and running speed of 6 km/h
- autonomously avoids obstacles
- climbs stairs
- carries trays and prevents spilling its contents
- pushes and freely controls carts
The first version of ASIMO was unveiled in 2000. Since then it has been updated and improved (the specifications above refer to the latest release).
Sources: http://asimo.honda.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASIMO
ASIMO conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
- ASIMO serving a tray
Here’s an article I found about a very interesting and almost futuristic use for “3D-printing”. The term “3D-printing” actually refers to additive manufacturing technologies, which means that an object is created by adding up different layers of a certain material. A common method uses an inject printing system with a special powder as a material to produce the consecutive layers of the object. In reference to kotoku’s post on the discussion board about the “skin-gun” I will post the following article from Quirks & Quarks (click on link below.) The stem cells of the specific organ are directly taken from the person, who’s supposed to receive the organ, are then multiplied and used as material for the 3D-printing process. It will still take time until the method is developed far enough for clinical use, but it would open vast opportunities.
Interesting fact: They printed a miniature-2-chamber-heart and 46 hours later it actually starts beating (see audio-file on the website below.)