Robot Astronaut Kirobo Takes Part in Conversation Experiment Aboard International Space Station

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Tokyo, Dec 20, 2013 - (JCN Newswire) - Dentsu Inc. (Dentsu), the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), Robo Garage Co., Ltd. (Robo Garage) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announce today that on December 6, 2013, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and robot astronaut Kirobo held a conversation experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS).
The conversation, the first of its kind between a human and a robot in outer space, represents the latest development in the Kibo Robot Project, a joint research project carried out by Dentsu, RCAST, Robo Garage and TMC. JAXA is also providing extensive assistance.

Experiment content:
1. Autonomous conversation using voice recognition technology
2. Communication with people on Earth

Extract from the conversation experiment (translation)

Wakata: How did you get out here into space, Kirobo?
Kirobo: On the Kounotori* from Tanegashima Space Center.
Wakata: Right. So you came here on the Kounotori?
Kirobo: Not the bird, of course! A rocket.
Wakata: It's incredible that you came here all by yourself.
Kirobo: Well, I'm a robot!
*Name of the H-II Transfer Vehicle used with the H-IIB Launch Vehicle

Further conversations will be held, and conversation logs and other data will be utilized by the project participants. The key aims of the project are to facilitate the coexistence of humans and robots, and to explore possible future deployment of communication robots in outer space.

Kirobo's basic specifications

Dimensions: Height: 34 cm, Width: 18 cm, Depth: 15 cm (approx.)
Weight: 1 kg (approx.)
Language: Japanese
Main features: Voice recognition, natural language processing, voice synthesis, telecommunications functions, gestures, facial recognition camera, recording camera

Key project developments to date

Nov 29, 2012 The project is announced; public begins proposing robot names.
Jun 26, 2013 Kirobo and ground crew member Mirata are completed and publicly introduced.
Aug 4, 2013 Kirobo leaves Japan for the ISS aboard the Kounotori 4 transfer vehicle
Aug 10, 2013 Kirobo arrives on the ISS.
Aug 21, 2013 Kirobo speaks his first words in outer space:

"On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all."

Future project plans

Dec 2014 Kirobo scheduled to return to Earth.

Kibo Robot Project website: http://kibo-robo.jp/en/
Twitter: @kibo_robo (Japanese language only)

About Toyota

Supported by people around the world, Toyota Motor Corporation (TSE: 7203; NYSE: TM), has endeavored since its establishment in 1937 to serve society by creating better products. As of the end of March 2012, Toyota conducts its business worldwide with 50 overseas manufacturing companies in 27 countries and regions. Toyota's vehicles are sold in more than 160 countries and regions. For more information, please visit www.toyota-global.com.



Source: Toyota

Contact:

Toyota Motor Corporation
Public Affairs Division
Global Communications Department
Tel: +81-3-3817-9926

Copyright 2013 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. www.japancorp.net

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