‘One small step for me, a giant leap for robots’: Japan launches talking humanoid robot into space

National Post | News

Japan has launched the world’s first talking humanoid robot “astronaut” toward the International Space Station.

Kirobo – derived from the Japanese words for “hope” and “robot” – was among five tons of supplies and machinery on a rocket launched Sunday from Tanegashima in southwestern Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

The childlike robot was designed to be a companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata and will communicate with another robot on Earth, according to developers. Wakata is expected to arrive at the space station in November.

Robot designer Tomotaka Takahashi, of the University of Tokyo, advertiser Dentsu and automaker Toyota Motor Corp. worked on the robot.

The challenge was making sure it could move and talk where there was no gravity.

Ahead of the launch, the 34-centimeter tall Kirobo told reporters, “one small step for me, a giant leap for robots.”

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