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13 Inch Talking Robot to Be Sent to Space this Summer, Watch Cute Video of Japanese Robot Kirobo

Update Date: Jun 27, 2013 08:23 PM EDT
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The next person to go the International Space Station this summer will not actually be a human, but a little humanoid robot sent by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on August 4.

These tiny robots might look like playful and simple robots, but they are anything but just that. They are equipped with voice recognition and facial recognition technology. They also have the ability to communicate in Japanese and are mobile robots.

The robot will be unloaded and stowed until Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives in November to take part in the experiment.

"Kirobo will remember Mr. Wakata's face so it can recognize him when they reunite up in space," said Kirobo's creator Tomotaka Takahashi, roboticist and founder of Kyoto University's Robo-Garage, one of the organization's behind the project. Takahashi was quoted in a report by the Agence-France Press, a French-based news agency.

The robot, that measures just 34 centimetres (13.4 inches) tall and weighs about one kilogram (2.2 pounds), has a very important mission. To keep the astronauts company during their space mission and also to inspire humans back on Earth by showing how well a robot can converse in difficult circumstances.

The robot, which has a wide range of physical motion, will also play a role in some missions, relaying messages from the control room to the astronaut, Takahashi said.

Back on earth, twin robot MIRATA will be on the lookout for any problems encountered by its electronic counterpart.

According to the report, Takahashi wanted to create a tiny robot that users could carry in their pocket like a smartphone. "By bringing a robot into space, the development of a symbiotic robot is expected to move along much faster," Takahashi said.

Watch the video below of Kirobo's creation and how the robot interactions with humans:

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