Honda’s Humanoid Leads A New Robotic Century
Department of Mechanical Control Engineering, University of Electro Communications, 1-5-1 Chofugaoka, Chofu-shi, Tokyo, Japan 182
The Honda Humanoid announced in the Nikkei Newspaper December 20, 1996, impressed down not only our generation of the famous animation named “Gundom,” but also professors as a great impulse. I had, through talks with colleagues, assumed that this type of human robot would be realized far in the future. I was given an opportunity to see the real product at a workshop sponsored by the International Robot and Factory Automation Association in February 1997. Representative researchers and students came to this workshop with high expectations and excitement. The Honda Humanoid was presented by Hiroyuki Yoshino, vice president of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. The real product was not exhibited at the workshop but presented through video films. However, it was worthy of being called a “fantastic” humanoid. The Humanoid caused viewers to imagine that it was created part of mankind in the real world. It had lived only in the animation or imaginary world. I was really amazed at the shocking behavior of the Humanoid. This is reality! The Humanoid walks on flat floors, on stairs, and on irregular surface smoothly just like a person. It also changes direction freely. If it is pushed from the front, it moves one leg backward to resist the force applied. It walks dynamically like a person wearing space gear. I got gooseflesh. During a break, I found some people mortified at being “beaten” in the creation of a biped walking robot and also those who were excited by the development. The Honda Humanoid will open a new century of robots, and shows the value of taking up a pioneering challenge. I congratulate the Honda development team and its great achievement!