|Tokyo, November 20, 2000---Honda Motor
Co., Ltd. today announced the development of a new small, lightweight humanoid
robot named ASIMO that employs Honda's new robotic walking technology to achieve
an unprecedented human-like ability to walk. ASIMO's unique capabilities were
demonstrated at Honda's global headquarters in Tokyo today.
"Honda has taken up a new challenge in mobility," said Hiroyuki Yoshino, president
and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "With this development of a two-legged humanoid
robot that can walk, Honda hopes to create a partner for people, a new kind of
robot with a positive function in society."
Honda's basic research and development in humanoid robotics began in 1986 with
the goal of developing an autonomous walking robot that could be helpful to individuals
as well as of practical use in society. In 1996, Honda's prototype robot P2 made
its debut, followed by the more advanced P3 in 1997.
ASIMO -- which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility -- is a further
evolved version of the P3 in an endearing people-friendly size that enables it
to actually perform tasks within the realm of a human living environment. Honda's
new robotic walking technology adds a sophisticated "predicted movement control"
feature to the walking control technology of earlier Honda robots. As a result,
ASIMO walks more smoothly, more flexibly, and more naturally, with instant response
to sudden movements. The range of movement of its arms has also been significantly
increased, while a new portable controller enables easier operation.
At 120cm (just under 4 feet), ASIMO is significantly smaller than Honda's earlier humanoid robots. The smaller size was chosen to allow it to operate freely in human living space and to make it people-friendly. Honda research determined the ideal robot height to be between 120cm and the height of an average adult, a size that allows the robot to perform basic tasks such as operating light switches and doorknobs.
ASIMO's Special Features
|1) Small & Lightweight
|Compared to the P3, ASIMO's height has been reduced from 160cm to 120cm (3.95 ft.) and its weight from 130kg to 43kg (94.8 lbs.). ASIMO's height of 120cm was chosen because it was considered the optimum for operating household switches, reaching doorknobs within human living space, and performing tasks at tables and benches. ASIMO was also made much more compact and lightweight through the redesign of its skeletal frame, reducing the frame's wall thickness and specially designing the control unit.
|2) Advanced Walking Technology
|Predicted Movement Control (for
predicting the robot's next move and shifting the center of gravity accordingly)
was combined with existing walking control know-how to create intelligent real-time
flexible walking technology, permitting smooth changes of direction. Because ASIMO
walks like a human, with instant response to sudden movements, its gait is natural
and very stable.
|3) Simple Operation
|To improve the operation of the
robot, a flexible walking control and button operation (for gestures and hand
movements) can be carried out from either a workstation or a handy portable controller.
|4) Expanded Range of
|By designing ASIMO's shoulders 20
degrees higher than those of the P3, elbow movement has been increased to 15 degrees
over horizontal, enabling a wider range of work capability. ASIMO's range of vertical
arm movement has also been increased to 105 degrees, compared to the P3's 90-degree
|5) People-Friendly Design
|In addition to its compact size, ASIMO features an attractive, people-friendly design.
||43kg (94.8 lbs.)
||1,200mm (3.95 ft)
||0 - 1.6km/h (approx. 1 mph)
|Operating Degrees of Freedom*
||Head: 2 degrees of freedom
||Arm: 5 x 2 = 10 degrees of freedom
|Hand: 1 x 2 = 2 degrees of freedom
||Leg: 6 x 2 = 12 degrees of freedom
|TOTAL: 26 degrees of freedom
||Servomotor + Harmonic Decelerator + Drive ECU
||Walking / Operation Control ECU, Wireless Transmission ECU
||Foot: 6-axis sensor
|Torso: Gyroscope & Deceleration Sensor
||Work Station & Portable Controller
|*Degrees of Freedom: The human joint has one degree of freedom for each range of movement; forward / backward, up / down and rotational.