Rose Parade to feature gigantic robot

Last updated Dec 18, 2008 — 352 views

A 49-foot-tall replica of Honda’s infamous ASIMO humanoid robot will be a prominent participant in the 2009 Rose Parade. Honda’s float will serve as the parade’s opening ceremony stage and then transform itself into the supersized ASIMO, leading the beloved parade through the streets of Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Honda says the giant ASIMO replica is about 12 times the size of the actual ASIMO robot. Both are shown in the photos below.

ASIMO replica (left) and actual ASIMO (right)
(Click each image to enlarge)

More about ASIMO

Honda says the actual ASIMO’s size was designed to help it operate comfortably within human living spaces, and to make it “people-friendly.” At 51 inches tall, it can operate light switches and door knobs, and work at tables and other work surfaces. The height of its eyes matches that of a sitting adult, making it easy to communicate with.

The robot’s 34 degrees of freedom of motion help it to walk and perform many tasks in a human-like manner. For example, ASIMO can run, walk, climb stairs, communicate, and recognize people’s voices and faces, according to Honda.

ASIMO is constructed with lightweight materials, including a magnesium alloy structure. Additionally, the robot possesses powerful computing capabilities. Here’s a summary of ASIMO’s key specifications, as listed by Honda:

  • Height — 51 in (130 cm)
  • Weight — 119 lbs (54 kg)
  • Walking speed — 1.7 mph (2.7 km/hour)
  • Running speed — 3.7 mph (6 km/hour)
  • Walking cycle — adjustable cycle and stride
  • Grasping force — 0.5 kg/hand (5 finger hand)
  • Actuator — servomotor; harmonic speed reducer; drive unit
  • Control unit — walk/operating control unit, wireless transmission unit
  • Sensors — foot: 6-axis foot area sensor; torso: gyroscope and acceleration sensor
  • 34 degrees of freedom (DOF) for “human” joints:
    • Head — 3 DOF (rotation; up/down nodding)
    • Arm — 14 DOF
    • Hand — 4DOF (not counting the joints for the 5 bending fingers)
    • Torso — 1 DOF
    • Legs — 12 DOF
  • Power — rechargeable 51.8V Lithium Ion battery
  • Operating time — 1 hour

Here are a couple of videos demonstrating what ASIMO can (and can’t) do:

ASIMO muffs an attempt to climb stairs

ASIMO dancing

Earlier this year, ASIMO, joined by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a performance of “Impossible Dream” as part of a special concert performance for young people.

Further details on ASIMO can be found here.

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