Kirobo, a 13″ humanoid robot, was launched today and is on its way to the International Space Station.
A mashup of the Japanese word for hope, “Kibo”, and “robot”, Kirobo is designed to be a companion and communicator for Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata who is expected to arrive at the space station later this year.
Designers from Dentsu, the University of Tokyo and Toyota have worked together on the Kibo-Robo Project to enable the little robot to be able to work in a gravity-free environment and use facial and voice recognition and natural language processing to be able to speak and provide information upon request from Wakata.
“I wish for this robot to function as a mediator between person and machine, or person and Internet and sometimes even between people,” said robot designer Tomotaka Takahashi.
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