Honda has unveiled its latest ASIMO. In appearance it's remarkably similalr to previous models but there are significant improvements in its construction and capabilites.
While ASIMO's height remains the same at 130 centimeters (4 feet 3 inches), it is now significantly lighter with a weight of just 48 kilograms, a decrease of 6 kg from the previous model. It is also faster, with a running speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph) a 50% increase on the previous 6 km/h speed.
This and an expanded range of movements will make it a much more capable RoboCup player for the 2012 season. It now has 57 degrees of freedom, an increase of 23 DOF from the previous model and as well as being able to walk or run forwards and backwards it can hop on one or both legs and make mid-motion adjustments to change its landing positions and can take a human-like stabilizing step backwards or forwards to withstand being pushed. Its additional agility now enables ASIMO to walk on uneven surfaces.
ASIMO's new hands have independent finger control which lets it use sign language and gives it the dexterity needed to remove screw caps from bottles and pour liqid into paper cups.
Improved sensor integration enables ASIMO to combine short and long range sensor data to better track and predict the motion of multiple humans, and to use visual and auditory input to perform voice recognition in noisy and crowded environments. This also contributes to improved autonomy and as this video demonstrates ASIMO is now able to step aside and avoid colliding with a human who is in its path:
ASIMO has obviously improved his interpersonal skills and his ability to cope with a less-than-perfect environment, but perhaps the most convincing demonstration that Honda is making real progress is ASIMO's new prowess at kicking in a ball in an efficient manner (at 9:10).