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ImageLast week Honda announced the new and improved version of the Asimo. What’s the main improvement? It’s actually useful now. Well, at least Honda says so.

Asimo, can now interact with human beings by delivering objects, or holding someone’s hand. Asimo can also locate and track said human provided they are wearing Honda’s proprietary, "IC Tele-interaction Communication Card." He can also push objects (e.g. a cart, not a trivial task), and run at twice his previous speed, which was 3 km/hr (1.8 miles/hr).

Honda will begin operating this new ASIMO in spring 2006, at the office
in Honda Wako Building. The new ASIMO will also gradually be made
available for leasing.

Asimo currently weights 54 kg (112 lbs) and has 34 total degrees of freedom (!).

Next on the "to do" list, is making Asimo a bit smarter, says Honda. In marketing speak, it reads like this:

Honda will continue and even more proactively pursue R&D efforts by
shifting the focus to the area of intelligence capabilities, which, for
example, will further enable ASIMO to make comprehensive judgments
based on various situations.

Honda also has plenty of video of the new Asimo on their site. Flash Player 8 required.

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