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Thursday, December 12, 2002

Honda Unveils Improved Humanoid Robot
By Yuri Kageyama
Associated Press
posted: 03:45 pm ET
11 December 2002

TOKYO (AP) -- Honda Motor Co. may have come up with the most attentive and perhaps honest car dealer ever in its child-size walking robot Asimo.

The 1.2-meter (4-foot) tall machine, which first went on sale two years ago, already knew how to walk, climb stairs and recognize voices. The upgraded version also understands human gestures and movement.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Robots offer engineers room for creativity
By David Lammers, EE Times
Dec 9, 2002 (2:26 PM)

San Francisco - Twenty years ago, Tsugio Makimoto, then a Hitachi, Ltd. Semiconductor manager, delivered a keynote speech at the 1982 International Electron Devices Meeting about how robotics would play a role in semiconductor fabs, largely to transport and handle wafers in a futuristic fab. Makimoto, now a technical advisor to Sony Corp.'s semiconductor operations, painted a much livelier picture of robots in a keynote speech today (Monday, Dec. 9) at the 2002 IEDM.
"Twenty years ago I was partly wrong. Humanoid robots are not very useful for practical purposes. Instead, robots hold great promise for entertainment," said Makimoto. Sony has sold thousands of its "Aibo" robot, which looks like a small dog, since June 1999. The new versions of Aibo are able to go to a charging station to replenish its own battery power, and include Bluetooth interfaces to share information with other Aibo robots, or with human-controlled computers.
But it was a seven-minute video of Sony's biped robot, the SDR-4X, which wowed the engineers attending the plenary session of IEDM. The video showed the SDR-4X, Sony's fourth generation biped robot, walking up and down steps, over unlevel terrain, and standing up on its own after being knocked flat on its back.