Talking robot sends his first words from orbit

In Other News Technology Trends & Culture - September 9th, 2013
space station

Kirobo, the pint-sized robot astronaut, echoed Neil Armstrong’s historical words in his first message from orbit.

“On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all,” the pint-sized robot said in Japanese. His message was later translated by Dentsu Inc.

“Good morning to everyone on Earth. This is Kirobo. I am the world’s first talking robot astronaut. Nice to meet you.”

The message was broadcast via video link, using the same technology that allows Kirobo to send photos and recorded messages from astronaut Koichi Wakata back to Earth.

Mirata, a similar humanoid, is stationed on Earth to receive the messages from space.

Kirobo, from “kibo” which means hope, blasted off into space to serve as companion for Wakata during an 18-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

Wakata will arrive at the space station later this year.

Yorichika Nishijima, the Kibo Robot project manager, said: “Russia was the first to go outer space, the US was the first to go to the moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans.”

The robot is equipped with voice-recognition, natural language processing, facial recognition, a camera and emotion recognition.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: Matheepan Panchalingam/Flickr