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Major_World_Publications2010-07-22_16-03 - 2 of 903...

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2 of 903 DOCUMENTS The Toronto Star January 8, 2004 Thursday Ontario Edition ASIMO A GO GO BYLINE: Mark Battiston, Toronto Star SECTION: PLANET; Pg. P08 LENGTH: 507 words "Getting to meet him and dancing with him was the best!" "I liked everything about ASIMO! " These responses from Elana, 11, and Andrea, 10, described the audience's response after the show. ASIMO is a humanoid robot developed by Honda's scientists and engineers. It took them 17 years to design and create ASIMO . Special exhibits with ASIMO demonstrations took place in the fall at the Ontario Science Centre. ASIMO stands for "Activated Step in Innovative Mobility," whose name emphasizes all its skills in movement. ASIMO could do many things, including turning while walking and climbing up stairs, which most of his prototypes could not do. We were amazed as we watched ASIMO walk, talk, dance, turn and climb stairs on stage. ASIMO could do all these things because he has 26 degrees of motion. That means that he can move 26 different parts: two on the neck, six on each arm and six on each leg. He weighs 52 kg (115 lbs) and is four feet tall, making him the ideal height to be eye to eye for a human sitting down. An operator controls his movements with a laptop backstage. He is made of magnesium covered by a thin plastic. He has four fingers and a thumb on each hand. During the presentation, the hostess, Suzanne, played a game with three kids. They had three challenges. The first chal- lenge was multiple-choice trivia, which focused on ASIMO's technology. As each participant got his or her choices, ASIMO would nod yes or no to each answer behind the hostess' back. It was very funny and it was also a very enter- taining way of learning about ASIMO's technology. The next activity was to follow all of ASIMO's dance movements. He did the hula; he danced to disco and a traditional dance from Thailand. The last challenge was a balancing act. AS- IMO would have to stand on one foot longer than anyone else. ASIMO was the best at this; he balanced on one foot without stumbling or moving. The kids were thrilled to receive an ASIMO T-shirt for participating. So how does ASIMO fit into the future? Today, robots are used in industry to complete various technical tasks, they can communicate intelligently, they can feel and they can move with great mobility. After the show, I spoke to Stephen Keeney, a member of ASIMO's operation and demonstration team. He commented that in the future, a robot like ASIMO could help the elderly or disabled with various tasks. They might work on a wa- terproof robot to work underwater or a fireproof robot to put out fires. Robots like ASIMO could also be used to clean up dangerous and hazardous waste. I thought that ASIMO was incredible because of its advanced technology and what it could mean for all of us in the fu- ture. A future robot like ASIMO could improve the quality of our lives in so many different ways. ASIMO has toured many European countries. I am sure that he will continue to amaze everyone who sees him.
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