Wednesday, December 15, 2010


John Marine | 12/15/2010 02:25:00 AM | | | |
(UPDATED: October 5, 2015)

I admire Honda because of their innovation. One of those innovations is the humanoid robot named ASIMO. ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. It was built by Honda in 2000 in hopes that it could one day be of practical use. It is a household robot capable of so many things, including... walking on uneven surfaces, answering phones, and countless other tasks. In other words, its many capabilities will astound you. This blog post concerns Honda's wonderful humanoid robot.

Most of my material comes from Honda's world website on ASIMO.


OCT 5 2015 - edited look of post

--- ASIMO at a Glance ---

^ from: - Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot. Concepts in 1986 would lead to its eventual birth in 2000.

ASIMO was born in 2000 after many different prototypes by Honda. Their tireless efforts to create a humanoid that could blend into the human world and be of practical use have resulted in many advances in robotic technology. ASIMO has shown up in a number of settings and in a number of places. It has been featured at many different shows. Children have had a chance to meet ASIMO during certain functions. In other words, it is hard to not be at least fascinated with what ASIMO has to offer.

You can actually purchase ASIMO for your own personal usage. The asking price, however, is pretty high. It costs about $150K USD to lease for a month, and you can lease ASIMO in the United States or in Japan (perhaps Europe too).

--- The History of ASIMO ---

Before ASIMO became the awesome robot it is today, it has seen a number of different prototypes and models to help create and realize ASIMO's potential. A variety of "E" models ("E" is short for "Experimental Model") came along with three different "P" ("P" standing for "Prototype Model) models. ASIMO was born after many years of trying to perfect and conceptualize what would eventually become ASIMO. To understand ASIMO's birth and how it became ASIMO, you must follow it's history.

E0 (Experimental Robot 0).

The prototype for ASIMO began all the way back in 1986 with the creation of the E0 (or Experimental Model 0) robot. E0 was a prototype for two walking legs. The legs and feet were properly and successfully made. However, walking motions were very slow- five seconds between steps and in a straight line. The ability to walk faster had to be implemented.

E1, E2, and E3.

Further enhancing the walking capabilities were three models designed by Honda between 1987 and 1991. E1, E2, and E3 have all helped to make their humanoid walk faster and more efficiently. E1 was instrumental in making for faster walking. It was the E2 model that was able to better mimic human walking. E3, however, was the biggest leap forward as it was able to walk at human speeds.

E4, E5, and E6.

Between 1991 and 1993, Honda continued to make their dream of building a humanoid a reality. E4 had longer legs to better simulate human walking speed. With the E5 model, the prototype was able to move on its own. The E6 model was a great enhancement as it was designed to balance itself across uneven surfaces and go up/down stairs.

P1, P2, and P3.

After seven years trying to create experimental models that would help to pattern their humanoid robot, it was time to bring ASIMO further to life. Three different prototypes were created to help make a more human-like robot. The next four years would be a process to create the humanoid robot Honda has long planned to create. Starting in 1993, P1 (or Prototype Model 1) had the same legs of the E6 model, but this one had arms and a body. P1 weighed in at 175 kilograms (or 385.8085 lbs.). Among its features, it was able to turn switches on and off, grab doorknobs, as well as pick up and carry items. Its arm and leg movements were further refined with the P1 prototype.

Three years after the P1 model was created, P2 was unveiled as the world's first two-legged humanoid walking robot. P2 was born in December 1996 weighing in at 210 kg (462.9702 lbs.) and 1,820 millimeters (5.97 feet) tall. It had a more streamlined look (as opposed to being a hot mess of robotic metal) compared to P1. P2 could operate on its own with various internals stored within P2's torso. Many of the functionalities P2 can do could be done without it being wired. Its realistic movements were enough to wow many people when it debuted proper.

P3 was the final prototype of ASIMO released in 1997. It was made lighter and more human-like than P2. It was 1,600 millimeters (approx. 5.25 feet) and weighed in at 130 kg (286.60 lbs.). This made the robot better able to fit in into the human world. Newer materials were used along with reconfiguring of its internals to make P3 lighter and better than P2.


The year 2010 marks ten years since ASIMO was born in 2000 after fourteen years trying to perfect and ultimately create ASIMO. All that was learned and mastered through perfecting ASIMO came to fruition with its world debut in 2000. This smaller and lighter robot became Honda's wonderful humanoid robot. Its abilities and capabilities came to fruition while also being more compact than the P1-P3 models. Through its more efficient design, ASIMO has had its capabilities and purpose realized. Among ASIMO's highlights... it is more compact and efficient, features more sophisticated walking, more freedom in limb movements, better overall usage, and a more friendly human design.

To learn more about what ASIMO offers technologically, visit ASIMO's Technology page.

--- ASIMO in Videos ---

Time for you to see ASIMO in action. These YouTube videos will help you to see what ASIMO is all about. So check these videos out:

So who is ASIMO? Take a look at this video. Note its movements and how efficient it moves:

This was ASIMO at the 2007 CES show:

ASIMO apparently also loves composing music. Check this out as ASIMO conducts for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra:

Watch as ASIMO service customers for the FCX Clarity vehicle. There is even more than one ASIMO in this video:

ASIMO, like anything in life, isn't perfect. Here is a classic fail moment by ASIMO:

Ouch. Now you know more about ASIMO in videos!

--- Can the World Benefit From ASIMO? ---

Honda doesn't build anything if it felt it had a useful or practical purpose. Therefore, ASIMO is a worthy and more-than-welcome member of our ever-changing postmodern society. It isn't as if Honda made something that kids can play with and tear up. ASIMO was designed with practicality and purpose in mind. Part of my inclination would be that more civic structures and functions could help people where humans would usually do most of the work. If I had to look 10 to 25 years from now, I'd say that ASIMO would be a great start in helping make life better and easier for us humans.

Could ASIMO Face Competition from Other Manufacturers?

I don't think there could be a war of humanoid robots (stop me if you've heard of humans vs. robots before), but can you imagine if other manufacturers tried to make their own purposeful humanoid robots to challenge ASIMO? Imagine if some other manufacturer wanted to make their own humanoid robots to go further than what ASIMO has done. Pretend one company could make a humanoid robot that could flawlessly swim and even dive many feet below sea level. Think of a humanoid robot that could climb rock formations or scale buildings. What if a durable humanoid robot could withstand flooding or hurricane conditions?

The accessibility of these robots would help to make life easier. Maybe with some more innovation, more people could possibly own their own humanoid robot for use around homes and businesses.

Could ASIMO Be the Start of Something Bigger/Better?

ASIMO very well could trigger something special if people feel ASIMO's capabilities can be enhanced and innovated further. The idea of a purposeful and innovative humanoid robot is something that should really be met with appreciation and respect. That's why I imagined if other manufacturers and such create their own humanoid robots for the purpose of making our world a better place. The one thing I fear, however, is the fantasy scenario of "what if robots turned against humans?" An issue like this would have some religious connotations in creating something to assimilate with our society, but ends up turning on humans with some sort of re-wiring or re-programming.

The primary purpose is still on the lines of something bigger and better for the future. So ASIMO should definitely be considered something truly useful and something that could be improved upon or enhanced by other parties.

Could Honda Have Done Away With Making ASIMO?

Honda probably couldn't have created ASIMO. Then again, do we NEED ASIMO? Because of Honda looking to the future with an eye towards making something that can be of great use, ASIMO's presence doesn't hurt. Honda probably could have just stuck to making all kinds of consumer goods and automobiles and such without even tempting the idea of making ASIMO. But again- ASIMO can serve a great purpose in our postmodern world. Because of that great purpose, one has to admire and appreciate the creation and useful purposes of ASIMO. It can help when there are no humans around to aid and assist people.

As far as I'm concerned, ASIMO is a continual work in progress and will only get better in time.

I thank everyone who have had a chance to read my blog post regarding ASIMO. I want you to be able to learn more about ASIMO if my blog post has been of interest to you. Here are some links you can visit to learn more about ASIMO:

ASIMO Official Home Page
Technology Insight on ASIMO
Become a Fan of ASIMO on Facebook!
Follow ASIMO on Twitter! (wait... ASIMO can tweet?)
Wikipedia Entry on ASIMO

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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