Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012
A Japanese team will send a small humanoid robot to the International Space Station next year as a companion for Koichi Wakata, who will be the first Japanese commander of the ISS.
The artificial intelligence robot, which will communicate in Japanese, is being developed by the Kibo Robot Project, which includes the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology and ad agency Dentsu Inc.
The robot, which so far hasn't been given a name, will be 34 cm high and weigh about 1 kg. Equipped with recording and facial recognition functions, it will be able to move autonomously or by remote control from Earth.
The robot will transmit data and images from the ISS to Earth, and it will be used in the first-ever conversation experiment between a person and a robot in space.