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Japanese scientists develop humanoid to keep astronauts company

Japanese scientists develop humanoid to keep astronauts company

December 3, 2012 - The 13-inch android is scheduled to be completed by next summer and will be sent to the orbiting ISS shortly before astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives, according to officials of the Kibo Robot Project.

Currently being developed by a consortium of companies, including Toyota, Robo Garage Co. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the robot will weigh around 2.2lbs and be able to recognise Wakata's facial features.

It will then have the ability to communicate with the astronaut in Japanese and take photographs during their stay on the space station.

After Wakata has completed his six-month stay aboard the ISS, the robot will stay behind to send messages to schools in Japan and around the world.

A second android will be developed at the same time to serve as a backup and to demonstrate the device's capabilities to audiences here on Earth.

In a statement, the organisers said the robot will be designed to "help solve social problems through communication".

Sources and more information:

Technology › Humanoid robot to keep Japanese astronaut company on space station

A small humanoid robot that can talk will be sent into space to provide conversational company for a Japanese astronaut on a six-month mission, according to new plans. The miniature robot will arrive at the International Space Station next summer, a few months ahead of astronaut Koichi Wakata, Japan's Kibo...

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