Robot Roll Call: Our MST3K Salute to Kirobo
The News Wheel staff writer, Kyle Johnson, sings us a ditty about Kirobo, and other science facts.
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) HTV-4, which launched on Saturday, August 4, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this past Friday with over three-and-a-half tons of supplies, equipment, and various goods to benefit the six-person crew.
Among the food, gear, and spare parts was a piece of equipment intended for future ISS crew member Koichi Wakata, who will join the crew in November during Expedition 38 as an engineer before becoming the first Japanese commander of the ISS during Expedition 39 the following March. But this equipment is much more than freeze-dried beef stroganoff: it’s Kirobo, a 2 pound talking robot whose primary responsibility is to keep Commander Wakata company.
Kirobo, who was co-created by engineers at Toyota and utilizes the automaker’s voice recognition technology, will be able to interpret the emotions in Wakata’s voice and respond in a manner that can suggest anything from sympathy to compassion. A talking robot that seems capable of feeling is something that many of us only believed possible in science fiction. With Korobo, it’s now science fact.
To celebrate Kirobo’s safe arrival and the impressive achievement that Kirobo represents, and in the hope of Kirobo’s ability to develop a sense of sarcasm like two of my favorite television robots from yesteryear, I’ve created a song that I believe would fit wonderfully over a Kirobo/Wakata friendship video montage. Enjoy our MST3K salute to Kirobo and feel free to sing along or comment below!
♪♫ To the tune of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Theme:
On a not too distant Friday, ♫ ♪
aboard the ISS,
six astronauts from around the world
got some cargo with great success.
The HTV-4 held lots of stuff— ♪
3.6 tons ought to be enough—
but the coolest equipment, by degrees,
is a Toyota-made robot good at speaking Japanese.
♫ (Konni-chi-waaaaa!) ♫
“We’ll send our bot, Kirobo. ♪
The best we could build.
We made him look like Chim Chim, too,
so our nerdiness is fulfilled.”
Now keep in mind Koichi Wakata
and the ISS he’ll attend.
He’ll try to keep his sanity
with the help of his robot friend.
Robot Roll Call! ♫
For harmony between robots and humannnns! ♫♪
*[Author’s Note: Yes, I understand that Crow T. Robot is 1) not real and 2) not on the International Space Station, but a guy can dream.]
Developer Fuminori Kataoka reveals more about the adorable Kirobo: