Asimo, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, was first introduced 14 years ago. Since then, Honda engineers have continued to make significant advances, including physical improvements such as running and hopping on one leg, improvements to its dexterity as well as other advancements that have furthered the company’s dream of creating a humanoid robot that can provide assistance to society.
“This is an exciting project for Honda,” said Satoshi Shigemi, senior chief engineer of Honda R&D Co. Ltd. and the leader of Honda’s humanoid robotics program. “Our engineers are working tirelessly to develop new technologies aimed at helping Asimowork in a real-world environment.”
The new version of Asimohas undergone numerous changes. Developments in the lower body include enhanced stability and balance control, allowing the robot to climb more smoothly, run faster and change direction in a morecontrolled fashion.
Enhancements in the upper body include major increases in the degrees of freedom available in the robot’s hands. Each hand now contains 13 degrees of freedom, which allows Asimoto perform many more intricate and precise tasks.
The increased hand dexterity provides additional movement in each finger, which also led to the development of Asimo’snew ability to communicate using both American and Japanese sign language.
Force sensors in the robot’s hands also provide instantaneous feedback, allowing Asimoto use the appropriate amount of force when performing a task. This allows the robot to pick up paper cups without crushing them, but still allows it to use a stronger force when necessary.
The advanced technologies derived from research on Asimohave also benefited other Honda business lines, for instance the VSA system used in the Honda Civic and technologies used in the championship-winning Honda MotoGP motorcycles had their genesis in Honda’s robotics research program.