On January 28, an event was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, New York, to kick off ASIMO's North American Educational Tour. The tour, which started in February 2003, will last about 15 months. ASIMO will visit 14 locations across the United States, including science museums and schools, showcasing Honda's humanoid robot technology through demonstrations. Aiming to develop broad-ranging interest in robotics, ASIMO will visit everyone from elementary and middle school students to students at high schools specializing in math, science and engineering.
About 300 people were invited to the event, including members of the press, and teachers and students from the local High School for Math, Science and Engineering. After tour leader Jeffrey Smith, senior manager at Honda America, described the motivation for Honda's robotic development and the goals of the North American educational tour, ASIMO gave a demonstration lasting about 25 minutes. The event participants were full of questions, asking whether Honda had plans for joint research with universities, how much ASIMO costs, and when ASIMO would be available for sale, also suggesting that ASIMO could help the elderly disabled. After having their pictures taken with ASIMO, many students commented that ASIMO was a cute!
Honda America has set up a Web site dedicated to ASIMO (Say Hello to ASIMO) in coordination with the kickoff of the tour. The site has information on ASIMO®s tour schedule and educational materials, an essay-writing contest, and more.
It is hoped that meeting ASIMO will expand children's imaginations and creativity, and develop their interest in learning about science. ASIMO has been on a nationwide tour since March, visiting such cities as Atlanta, Pennsylvania, Boston, and Miami.