The new Honda ASIMO autonomous robot is able to walk 3km/h faster than the previous version, and is able to stand up and walk around by itself. Using various sensors on its face, ASIMO can also recognise human faces and voices. Using these sensors it can also detect movement and step out of the way of an approaching human. Honda says,
"Coordination between visual and auditory sensors enables ASIMO to simultaneously recognise a face and voice, enabling ASIMO to recognise the voices of multiple people who are speaking simultaneously, which is difficult even for a human being to accomplish."
At a recent demonstration, ASIMO also showed it could run, walk up and down stairs, and even hop. But the main attraction was ASIMO's ability to pour a drink from a screw-top bottle into a paper cup. ASIMO may have taken a bit longer than a human, but it did do it very carefully, walking the cup and handing it over to a lady.
One of the interesting elements to ASIMO's ability to pour the drink was the fact that it didn't crush the paper cup. Honda Robotics developed ASIMO with tactile sensors in its palms and finger tips so it can calculate and differentiate between surfaces.
The revised Honda ASIMO robot is around 1.2 metres tall (although its legs can extend to make it taller), and it weighs around 48kg.
Honda isn't planning on releasing ASIMO onto the market anytime soon, but the company is still developing the little robot and may use the technology in other areas of life. Take a look at the video below for a quick demonstration.