The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Honda sways to Asimo’s beat

New Delhi, Sept. 8: He’s not groomed to groove, but the first nuts-and-bolts man to jive to the tune of Dil Chahta Hai would have left Bollywood’s rhythm kings gasping.

Meet Asimo, the two-legged, 1.2 metre (four-feet) robot, whose Japanese name roughly means the cock of modernity. This afternoon, he played to the gallery, showing off his new skills, and keeping the audience in thrall.

Asimo — an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility — is Honda Motor’s baby. Unlike Sony Corp’s virtual pet dog Aibo or SDR-4X, and Omron Corp’s robo-cat Necor, Asimo does more by wagging a tail or dancing.

In the making for 17 years at Japan’s third largest carmaker and weighing 52 kgs, Asimo has come a long way since he was unveiled a year ago. He responds to sign language and, though he primarily remains an entertainer, he has inspired hopes of being a home companion.

That’s one of the reasons Asimo is 120 cms — more than twice as tall as the SDR-4X — despite technological challenges posed by taller robots, Honda officials said. A robot, they say, must be at least this size to move about at home with tabletops, doorknobs and stairs.

“If you are going to have something that moves with ease in a human environment, it is better to design it like a human,” said Siriporn Ounkhuma, a senior Honda official.

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