ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility) is the
result of years of constant research and development Honda to create a
Honda engineers set out to create an advanced humanoid robot able to
function in real-world environments. The first robots Honda began
to develop were little more than a pair of legs tethered to a computer
but today, after more than 18 years of research and development, ASIMO
exhibits an almost real personality and can recognize up to 10 different
pre-registered people. He can then greet them by name and
communicating messages to them. ASIMO can also recognize postures
and gestures like recognize an indicated location and move to that
location, shake a person's hand when a handshake is offered and
respond to a wave by waving back.
recently announced the development of three new technologies (as well as
improvements to his joints for better flexibility) for the
next-generation ASIMO humanoid robot, targeting a new level of mobility
that will better enable ASIMO to function and interact with people by
quickly processing information and acting more nimbly in real-world
1. Posture Control technology:
The combination of newly developed high-response hardware and the new
Posture Control technology enables ASIMO to proactively bend or twist
its torso to maintain its balance and prevent the problems of foot
slippage and spinning in the air, which accompany movement at higher
speeds. ASIMO is now capable of running at a speed of 3km/hour. In
addition, walking speed has been increased from the previous 1.6 km/hour
to 2.5 km/hour.
2. Autonomous Continuous Movement technology:
The next-generation ASIMO can maneuver toward its destination without
stopping by comparing any deviation between the input map information
and the information obtained about the surrounding area from its floor
surface sensor. Moreover, ASIMO can now autonomously change its path
when its floor surface sensor and visual sensors located in its head
3. Enhanced visual sensor and force sensor technologies allow for
smoother interaction with people:
By detecting people’s movements through visual sensors in its head and
force (kinesthetic) sensors which have been newly added to its wrists,
ASIMO can now move in sync with people allowing it to give or receive an
object, shake hands in concert with a person’s movement and step forward
or backward in response to the direction its hand is pulled or pushed.
By continuing to advance these new technologies, Honda will pursue
development of an ASIMO that will be useful to people.
• Hip rotational joint: Increased walking speed was achieved by the
proactive rotation of the hips in addition to swinging of the arms,
which cancel the reaction force generated when the legs swing forward
during running or walking.
• Wrist bending joint: Due to two additional axes in each wrist, the
movement of the wrist area is more flexible.
• Thumb joint: Previously, one motor operated all five fingers. With
addition of a motor that operates the thumb independently, ASIMO can now
hold objects of various shapes.
• Neck joint: With an additional axis added to its neck joint, ASIMO’s
expressiveness has been enhanced.
*More about the new Posture Control technology:
In order to realize “running”, two major obstacles had to be overcome.
One was an accurate leap and the absorption of the landing impact, and
the second was prevention of the slipping and spinning that accompany
movement at higher speeds.
1. Accurate leap and absorption of landing impact:
In order to run, a robot has to be able to repeat the movements of
pushing off the ground, swinging its legs forward, landing within a very
short time cycle and without any delay, absorbing the instantaneous
impact shock of landing. With a newly developed high-speed processing
circuit, highly-responsive and high-power motor drive unit, in addition
to light-weight and highly rigid leg structure, Honda realized highly
accurate and responsive hardware with performance levels more than four
times faster compared to that of the previous model.
2. Prevention of spinning and slipping:
Due to reduced pressure between the bottom of the feet and floor,
spinning and slipping are more likely to happen right before the foot
leaves the floor and right after the foot lands on the floor.
Overcoming the problem of spinning and slipping was the biggest control
element challenge related to increasing running speed. Combining Honda’s
independently developed theory of bipedal walking control with proactive
bending and twisting of the torso, Honda developed a new control theory
which enables stable running, while preventing slipping.
Through these technologies, ASIMO is now capable of smooth human-like
running at a speed of 3km/hour. Moreover, walking speed was increased
from the previous 1.6 km/hour to 2.5 km/hour.
When a human runs, the step cycle is 0.2 to 0.4 seconds depending on
one’s speed, and the airborne time, when both feet are off the ground,
varies between 0.05 to 0.1 seconds. The step cycle of ASIMO is 0.36
seconds with an airborne time of 0.05 seconds, which are equivalent to
that of a person jogging