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How It Works

ASIMO, which first appeared in late 2000, is a successor to prior robotic prototypes from Honda called the P2 and P3, which debuted in 1996 and 1997, respectively. It is a working two-legged robot engineered to operate inside the home and designed to be easy to operate and user friendly. By creating ASIMO, Honda tackled and solved some of the complexities of autonomous walking using an intelligent, real-time, and flexible design. Even simple things like getting a robot to be able to walk on carpet, turn around, or walk up and down stairs can be quite a challenge for designers. So, before getting to the complexities of actually doing real work on behalf of humans, some of these more mundane challenges had to be solved so that the robot of the future will be able to move around with ease in a typical home. For example, the P2 and P3 robot predecessors to ASIMO actually used stored walking patterns, whereas ASIMO can actually change its foot placement, stride length, and turning angle in real time based upon the feedback it receives from various sensors.

In addition to being able to walk with humanlike foot-and-leg articulations, the robot has humanlike joints for the head, arms, and hands. Its height allows it to operate light switches and door knobs and to communicate at the eye level of a sitting adult. The childlike size makes it less intimidating than having a six-foot-plus robot staring down at you.


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