He is only 34 centimetres tall and weighs just one kilo, but he’s going to be launched into space. Kirobo, a knee-high talking robot, rocketed off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on Sunday in an unmanned cargo vessel headed to the International Space Station.
The black-and-white bodied robot in red boots was developed by the University of Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corp and Dentsu Inc and will stay in space until late 2014. He’ll be there to help the work of Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Kirobo’s name comes from the word “kibo” (Japanese for “hope”) and “robot”.
He speaks only Japanese and is equipped with voice- and facial-recognition technology. His job will largely consist of talking with Wakata, who will be his partner during the first robot-human chats in space until his take off for the space station with six other crew members in November.
Kirobo will arrive at the outpost on Friday.