Honda’s tiny humanoid robot, ASIMO, is currently on tour in Canada, helping to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the manufacturing plant located in Alliston, Ontario.
The tour has numerous stops planned out, mostly ranging from science centers to educational institutes. Most recently the robot along with Honda Canada vice president Jerry Chenkin and Eric Wdin, project leader of the ASIMO team, spent an afternoon entertaining students participating in a robotics competition at the Ontario Science center in Toronto.
The last time ASIMO was in Canada, was just over four years ago, slightly before it received a ton of upgrades and new features, including being better able to climb up stairs, and handle trickier terrain.
While not exactly a mascot, the robot is nevertheless an easily recognizable and popular “persona”, if you will, over at Honda. Since it’s introduction in 2000, the robot has been featured on countless news programs, variety shows and commercials.
Spokespersons for Honda tell us that the robot fits in with Honda’s overall message of providing mobility for all humans. While not exactly the form of mobility that is normally associated with Honda, such as a motor vehicle, the robot is meant to be a seen as a precursor for a future time when similar robots could be used to help people with impaired mobility.
The idea would be not so much to replace humans, but to help them out. When suffering from an injury and being bed ridden, a future version of ASIMO could accomplish simple household chores and fetch food from the fridge. In the fall they could potentially be programmed to help rake the leaves, and then move on to shovelling the walkway in the winter.
Reporters have often wondered and asked about the small size of the robot, to which Honda believes its small stature makes the robot easier to relate to. Instead of being tall and intimidating, the robot has a gentle, almost “cute” appearance to it.
While ASIMO is not exactly a vocal salesperson, its design does speak tons for Honda’s image as a forward thinking company. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years ASIMO like robots will not only become affordable, but something that Honda is really known for.