Asimo learns body language and gestures

Honda has unveiled the latest version of its humanoid robot, Asimo. And it now understands human gestures and movements.

Asimo turns its bubble-shaped head to follow the movements of people who are close to it, or walk by it. The robot interprets movements and gestures and then initiates a response, moving independently, according to Honda.

The child-sized robot appeared two years ago, and was already able to walk, climb stairs and recognize voices.

Asimo’s ability to interact with humans has advanced significantly, according to the company. It can greet approaching people, follow them, move in the direction they indicate, and even recognize their faces and address them by name. Further, utilizing networks such as the Internet, Asimo can provide information while executing tasks such as reception duties.

Asimo uses a camera to recognize 10 pre-programmed faces and responds to those with a vocal welcome. It will recognize and indicate position and move to that spot. It will shake hands and avoid obstacles as it moves around.

Asimo recognizes its own name and will look a person in the face when responding to a greeting or question.

Humans can summon it by making a circling motion with their arms, or receive another greeting by waving at it.

Honda plans to offer the new model for rental this year in Japan for $20 million yen (about $250,000), although there are no plans to extend the offer overseas yet.