Kirobo, Japan’s robo-astronaut that was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in August, has uttered the first robotic words in space, combining cutting-edge technology with cuteness.
The small-sized Kirobo stands just 34 centimetres tall and weighs about one kilogram. The humanoid creation transmitted a message from inside the ISS, greeting citizens of Earth and paying cheeky tribute to Neil Armstrong.
“On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all,” Kirobo said. A video showed the little robo-astronaut drifting weightlessly inside the ISS and moving its legs in the air.
“Good morning to everyone on Earth. This is Kirobo. I am the world’s first talking robot astronaut. Nice to meet you,” it said in Japanese.
Kirobo was created by advertising company Dentsu, the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, robot developer Robo Garage, Toyota, and JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (similar to NASA).
Aside from being able to naturally talk to people, Kirobo can also rise to a standing position on its own and adapt to floating in zero-gravity. At the moment, Kirobo can only talk in Japanese.
The robot can also navigate while floating in air, as well as twisting, turning, running, and shaking hands while remaining in place.
The goal of the project is to see how well humans and robots can interact and how well the latter can assist astronauts during missions.