Friday, August 9, 2013

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Japanese cargo ship carries robot astronaut to space station (video)

A new unmanned cargo ship, carrying 3.5 tons of supplies and a talking robot, Kirobo, blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Sunday.

"I want to help create a world where humans and robots can live together," Kirobo said when asked what its dream is by an official from Toyota Motor Corp., during the Kibo Robot Project's press event in late June.

The cute "robot astronaut" is a small humanoid automaton, the Kirobo, designed to talk with astronauts in space and people on the ground. It is approximately 13.4 inches tall and speaks Japanese. The robot is equipped with voice-recognition technology, face recognition, a camera and emotion recognition and natural language processing.

Kirobo will speak with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, scheduled to fly to the International Space Station in November. It is one of two robots built by the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology as part of the Kibo Robot Project, which develops new technology for robot-human interaction on long space missions. The Toyota Motor Corp., Robo Garage and the public relations company Dentsu Inc. are partners in the project.

The H-2 Transfer Vehicle, or HTV-4 line of spacecraft is also known as "Kounotori," which means "White Stork" in Japanese. The supply ships are about 33 feet long by 14.4 feet wide and can carry 6 tons of supplies space lab.

For more of the story and robot video:

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