By Travis Persaud
It can walk, run, scale steps and one day take care of you. Well, maybe.
Honda gave us a glimpse of the future last week, unveiling the latest developments in ASIMO (Advance Step in Innovative Mobility) — the most advanced humanoid robot — at the Ontario Science Centre.
The project, which feels a little like a George Lucas production, began in 1986 and has produced an impressive four-foot-three-inch robot that can perform human movements such as walking, running and walking up and down stairs.
The eventual goal? “Simply to be a helper to people,” says Erik Wedin, North American ASIMO project leader. The main focus is on how ASIMO can help people with mobility challenges. “We’re still researching the best way to do that. Would it be in a nursing home environment? Is it bringing things to someone who’s confined to a bed? That’s something we’re still learning — how can it best help people?” He also mentioned that one day ASIMO could be used to help with dangerous tasks such as discarding hazardous waste.
There’s no timeline on when ASIMO will be available to aid people in real-life, day-to-day situations. And there’s no word on what decades of research will cost on the streets. “Asimo is a priceless piece of research and development technology,” Wedin said with a smile, when asked how much Honda has spent on it. Based on his tight-lipped responses, it will likely be decades before ASIMO is walking up your staircase to grab you something, or vacuuming your home.
However, Zoomer couldn’t be more impressed with a company that’s putting so much research toward helping people with mobility issues. Well done.