Current Weather
The Spy FM

Talking Robot Astronaut Heads To International Space Station

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
August 4, 2013

HAL 9000 he’s not. But Kirobo, the first-ever talking robot in space is heading to the International Space Station this week ahead of his human companion, Japanese astronaut Kochi Wakata, who takes over as ISS commander in November.

The robot, whose outward appearance was inspired by the cartoon character Astro Boy, stands just over a foot tall and it was “built to converse with astronauts on long space voyages,” according to Space.com.

Kirobo – whose name is a portmanteau of the Japanese word for “hope” plus “robot” – can communicate in Japanese, keep a record of its conversations with Commander Wakata and is expected to relay messages between the ground and the station.

The BBC says:

“‘Kirobo will remember Mr Wakata’s face so it can recognise him when they reunite up in space,’ the robot’s developer, Tomotaka Takahashi said.

‘I wish for this robot to function as a mediator between a person and machine, or a person and the Internet, and sometimes even between people.’”

The biggest challenge, Takahashi says, was making the android compatible with space. Among other things, they tested Kirobo in zero gravity.

Kirobo will be linked to a twin on Earth, called Mirata, which will be on the lookout for any problems with his space-bound duplicate. HAL should have been so lucky.

“Both robots come equipped with voice-recognition and face-recognition technology, as well as a camera, emotion recognition and natural language processing.” Space.com says.

Let’s just hope Kirobo can’t read lips. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

1PM to 2PM Seasonal Shows

Seasonal Shows

Listen Live Now!

2PM to 3PM The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

Think NPR meets Vanity Fair. In each episode, hosts Rico Gagliano & Brendan Francis Newnam talk with some of the world's most interesting celebrities, and along the way equip you with bad jokes, fresh drink recipes, hot food finds, odd news stories... and etiquette tips from the likes of Henry Rollins and Dick Cavett. It's all you need to get an edge in your weekend conversations. Past guests include Michelle Williams, Judd Apatow, Kid Cudi and Sir Richard Branson. Wallpaper magazine calls The Dinner Party one of the Top 40 Reasons To Live In The USA.

View the program guide!

3PM to 4PM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center