Motor Co. recently unveiled the prototype Humanoid Robot P3 at the Science
Museum, Tokyo. The P3 is the latest version of the two-legged robots
the automaker has been developing since 1986.
A two-legged robot is said to be
very difficult to develop as it involves an array of high technologies,
such as sensor technology to maintain stable walking. But Honda has
been focusing on the two-legged mobility technology because it wants
a humanoid robot to be able to move through furniture-equipped rooms
and go up and down stairs so people can use it in their daily lives.
Honda's initial efforts at making
a two-legged robot resulted in the E2 model, developed after an analysis
of an ostrich's movements. It was 132 cm (4.3 ft) tall and weighed 67.7
kg (149.2 lb). But the head was disproportionately big, and the E2 fell
over easily, unable to balance the body section's right and left sides
well. After a number of improvements, Honda came up with humanoid-type
robots with synchronized arm and leg movements--the P1, the P2, and
now the P3.
The P3 can walk freely on its own
two legs. It is 160 cm (5.25 ft) tall, weighs 130 kg (286.6 lb), and
comes very close to looking like a human adult. Without a battery, the
weight goes down to just 100 kg (220.4 lb). The P3 can walk at a speed
of 2 km (1.24 miles) per hour and go up and down stairs around 20 cm
(8 in) high without trouble.
seeing the P3 at the Science Museum, Tokyo, second-grader Masato Hattori
drew a picture of his dream robot. "This is my favorite robot, though
I don't have a name for it yet," Masato said. His friend, Takashi Koyama,
showed his dragon-type robot in his drawing. "I could ride on this one
when I am going to be late for school," he said, excitedly.
The P3 demonstrated its walking
ability at Honda's Welcome Plaza Aoyama in Tokyo on July 1-2. The robot
stood up when told to do so by the emcee and climbed the steps to stand
on top of the stage. The P3 then ran down the steps, walked to the emcee,
and shook her hand. The robot waved to the crowd around it, held up
its arms in celebration, and then took a bow to exit from the stage.
Photos: The new robot performed well in front of the