What's the Latest Development?
Honda's revamped 'Asimo' robot is able to run faster, balance on uneven surfaces, hop on one foot and pour a drink, though not all at the same time. Honda is keen to prove he's not just a glorified toy. Indeed some of his technology was used to develop a robotic arm to help clean up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.
What's the Big Idea?
It wasn't possible to send in Asimo to help out because the robot couldn't maneuver in rubble, and its delicate computer parts would malfunction in radiation. But the new, improved version revealed recently can walk over bumps without falling and jog faster than it did in 2005. By pushing better with its toes, so its run is not so jerky, it has gone from 6 kph (3.7 mph) to 9 kilometers (5.6 mph) per hour.