Kirobo, Toyota’s Adorable Talking Robo-naut, Launches To ISS
On August 3, the unamanned HTV-4 (Kounotori 4) was launched from Tanegashima Space Center with around 3.5 tons of supplies and equipment for the crew aboard the International Space Station. Though it was unmanned, it was not entirely unoccupied: a little more than two pounds of that 3.5 tons belongs to the 13 in. tall Kirobo, the world’s first talking robot astronaut.
Kirobo was created by engineers at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology along with its terrestrial counterpart Mirata. Kirobo’s creation was also made possible by the triumvirate of Toyota Motor Corp., Robo Garage, and Dentsu Inc.
Kirobo utilizes Toyota’s voice recognition software to convey emotions and will thusly be capable of speaking to Commander Koichi Wakata in his native Japanese with perceptible kindness, sympathy, and a range of other human emotions.
Toyota Motor Corp. and general manager of the Kirobo project Fuminori Kataoka explains that Toyota’s aim in the conversation experiment is to “help create a society where humans and robots co-exist.”
Kirobo reaffirms Kataoka and Toyota’s vision: “I want to help create a world where humans and robots can live together.” Kirobo has, by all accounts, never been heard to exclaim “Kill all humans!”
Kirobo adds, “That’s one small step for me, but one giant leap for robot-kind.” This statement was prefaced by an adorable laugh. No, really.
Quotable little fella, isn’t he? He even has his own Twitter. Here’s hoping for a barrage of Instagram pics of freeze-dried food with various filtering effects.