Wave Goodbye To Honda Asimo, A Robot That Would Wave Back

Fans of technology will recall a number of years when Honda’s humanoid robot Asimo seemed to be everywhere. In addition to its day job in a research lab, Asimo had a public relations side gig showing everyone that Honda is about more than cars and motorcycles. From trade shows to television programs, even amusement parks and concert halls, Asimo worked a busy publicity schedule. Now a retirement party may be in order, since the research project has reportedly been halted.

Asimo’s activity has tapered off in recent years so this is not a huge surprise. Honda’s official Asimo site itself hasn’t been updated in over a year. Recent humanoid robots in media are more likely to be in context of events like DARPA Robotics Challenge or from companies like Boston Dynamics. Plus the required technology has become accessible enough for us to build our own two-legged robots. So its torch has been passed on, but Asimo would be remembered as the robot who pioneered a lot of thinking into how humanoid robots would interact with flesh and blood humans. It was one of the first robots who could recognize human waving as a gesture, and wave back in return.

Many concepts developed from Asimo will live on as Honda’s research team shift focus to less humanoid form factors. We can see Honda’s new ambitions in their concept video released during CES 2018 (embedded below.) These robots are still designed to live and work alongside people, but now they are specialized to different domains and they travel on wheels. Which is actually a step closer to the Jetsons’ future, because Rosie rolls on wheels!

[via Jalopnik]

20 thoughts on “Wave Goodbye To Honda Asimo, A Robot That Would Wave Back

    1. this is total bull…

      look at how it moves. Programmed movements like the Asimo had… If you kick this thing it falls over and keeps on walking, laying on the ground.

      1. Marvin – All of the humanoid robots can be knock over easy but they get back up! Asimo can do that too. Russia’s FEDOR in the video gets knock over but he gets back up too. Even Boston Dynamics robots get knock over but they get back up quickly. BTW Boston Dynamics no longer is owned by Google. They sold it to a Japanese company named SoftBank for $100m. They will be rolling out the DOG for US Military this year. Don’t try and knock him down!

        http://prod-upp-image-read.ft.com/0c4985c8-4cb3-11e7-a3f4-c742b9791d43

        .

  1. An ice cream vending robot that needs a human to stand by it makes the same sort of nonsense as self checkout lanes with a human standing there to operate it for customers.

  2. I recently saw a video of what Asimo can do.. this is not about just walking, but also running, going up and down stairs, dancing, hopping, interacting.. basically its an C3PO but more elegant in motion. Its is a pity if this rumour is true.

    1. Asimo was an architectural and mechanical dead end. It’s a miracle they could make it do all those things.

      For example, the running was more of a fast shuffle, but technically running since the feet left the ground by couple millimeters. ASIMO was never built do do dynamic walking in the first place, which is why it moves with bent knees.

      The basis of its operation was well-prepared and pre-recorded motions executed in well orchestrated press demonstrations.

      1. Point being that since ASIMO was originally designed for rather slow static balance motions, because its CPU wasn’t fast enough to handle dynamic loads, they probably had to “overclock” it to run – pushing the motor voltages/currents and the gearbox design beyond their design limits simply to make the limbs move fast enough.

        There’s all these conflicting demands where you need compliant limbs, but you also need very precise movements, and electric motors are bad at providing static torque, so the geartrain needed essentially zero backlash and no back-driveability or else the robot would slouch over and fall. That then turns into a problem under dynamic loads, because you’re putting the weight of the robot on the gears and you can easily strip the teeth when the feet hit the ground from a jump, so you need to anticipate the load and drive the motor backwards at just the right rate to “catch” the fall.

  3. Conceptual animated vid isnt as good as :

    Two of the products being usable. Dont see upside down emotionally dependent bowling pin as more than curiosity or museum tour director if given some speech capability. Is like somebody was watching “Big Hero 6” and lost everything but cuddly and emotional. Pepper would be my choice of all the present commercial offerings but bit co$tly still.
    Asimo is dated and deserves a rest. In terms of automobile memorabilia it’s a classic and historical point. In realm of tech it is an antique. Props’ to the presenter in vid for staying upbeat with dead crowd (zombies) and mediocre performance demo.

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