Honda Robot Helps Teach in Classrooms
By YURI KAGEYAMA
Apr 6, 9:25 PM (ET)
Photo: Asahi Shimbun,
TOKYO (AP) - A walking childlike robot from Japanese automaker Honda
Motor Co. is entering classrooms to help teachers demonstrate the
wonders of science.
The 130-centimeter (51-inch) -tall, bubble-headed robot named Asimo
has already shown it can jog, walk up stairs, wave, avoid obstacles and
carry on simple conversations. It has worked as a guide in showrooms
and visited schools as Honda's ambassador.
But this is the first time it's being used in science classes as part
of the official school curriculum, Honda said.
In a demonstration for reporters at a Tokyo museum Wednesday, a
teacher explained to students how the robot has sensors inside its body
to maintain balance, and the robot displayed how it can keep its
balance by tilting its body while standing on a swaying platform. A
wooden figure standing next to it collapsed.
The teacher also explained to students that weight is transferred from
the heel to the toe when a person walks, and moved the robot in slow
motion to demonstrate.
Asimo, which is similar to the Japanese word for "foot," will help
teach thousands of students at elementary and junior high schools who
visit science centers in two Japanese cities as part of their
education, Honda and city officials said.
"Adults must work harder to make learning about science more
interesting for children," said Mamoru Mohri, an astronaut who heads
the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo.
Honda has been working with the museum for three years to arrange for
Asimo to take part in science classes, said Kiyotaka Tanaka, a Honda
official overseeing the robot project.
Japan leads the world in robotics. Various Japanese companies,
including electronics makers Hitachi Ltd. (HIT) and Sony Corp. (Qrio),
and Honda rival Toyota Motor Corp. have developed entertainment robots.
Asahi Shimbun Photo
AP Photo :
(AP) In this photo distributed by Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co.,
Honda's walking robot Asimo,...