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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Japanese Robot In Space — And No One Dies

How the fug did I miss this story? Did you know that Japan had a robot astronaut up in the ISS (International Space Station) last year? I didn't... but...

Yup… and he was sent up all by its lonesome first, and was apparently lonely while waiting for Japanese commander Wakata Koichi (surname first) to come up and join him… so much so that it actually said: "Mr. Wakata, are you not here yet? I really want to see you soon."

Out loud. For everyone to hear. He called him Mister... not Commander. This robot needs to learn protocol. And patience.

I'm assuming that Kirobo the robot was not some sort of space sex robot… but it being Japan, one never knows.

Developed by Takahashi Tomotaka (surname first) specifically to go into space to accompany Wakata, the first ever Japanese commander of the International Space Station, I'm really kind of creeped out by the whole thing.

I still have images of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey going crazy trying to kill everyone. But... no one died.

Here are some Kirobo facts:
  • Height: 34 cm (13 in) - just a shade larger than my foot;
  • Width: 18 cm (7.1 in);
  • Depth: 15 cm (5.9 in);
  • Weight: 1 kg (2.2 lb);
  • Languages: speaks Japanese. Only;
  • Siblings: Twin brother named Mirata, who stayed on Earth as a back-up crew member hating Kirobo's success;
  • Name: a mix of 'kibo' (希望, which means "hope") and "robo" (ロボ), which I am sure you can figure out what that means.
Aside from the more evil, sneering look on Mirata, these robots are twins... so why give duplicate information?
Anyhow… Kirobo is the same size as a taco loving chihuahua… yo quero sexo Taco Bell.

Kirobo arrived on the ISS on August 10th 2013 via JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)'s H-II Transfer Vehicle Kounotori 4, an unmanned resupply spacecraft launched August 4th, 2013 from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center.

The mighty, needy little robot was built by a combination of Dentsu, the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Robo Garage, Toyota, and JAXA.

I like that there's a company called Robo Garage. It feels like the future is here today!

From what I understand, the University of Tokyo and Robo Garage built the robot hardware and motion generation, Toyota created the voice recognition function and Dentsu created the conversation content and managed the project. VoiceText of Hoya Service provided the speech synthesis.

Voice recognition by Toyota? Hmmm, just what do they have planned for their cars?

So… needy or not, Kirobo is very cool. Along with speech, it also has natural language processing, which means that if Commander Wakata should begin speaking in nefarious Osaka street slang, Kirobo would be able to decode it—which is better than anything I am capable if you hear what I'm feeling.

Kirobo also has facial recognition, so we'll know if someone tries to sneak aboard the ISS - also it will be able to recognize his human Japanese spaceman and ignore everyone else should it wish.

And… like a photographic memory, Kirobo can perform video recording, though in my opinion, it's more fun to watch others rather than filming oneself…

Now… if it can move its robotic hand up and down in a sexually suggestive manner that I'd like you all to do for me now (Oh yeah! Thank-you), the loneliness of space won't be so bad. In space, no one can hear you orgasm. But in zero gravity it's going to be a bitch to clean up.

Sorry. I'm just horny. It's lunch time and I need to eat my way through to some food. Horny? Damn auto-correct. I meant hungry. Though, I guess both will do.

Not surprisingly, Kirobo was designed to work in zero-gravity environments and will assist Commander Wakata in various experiments. Its main goal is to see how well robots and humans can interact, hopefully leading the way to robots taking more active roles in assisting astronauts on missions.

Back on August 10, 2013 when Kirobo first boarded the ISS, it sent out a video message to the worlds: "Good morning to every one of you people on Earth. I am robot astronaut Kirobo. I am the world's first talking robot astronaut. Nice to meet you." It was done in Japanese, so no one except for the people of Japan had any clue what it said.

Anyhow… I've just been informed by Mirata, Kirobo's twin, that along with thinking me a pervert (thank-you very much), that Kirobo is not a sex-bot and even if it was, Kirobo was not alone up in the ISS with Commander Wakata, as Wakata flew in aboard a Soyuz-FG rocket with fellow astronauts Mikhail Tyurin of Russia and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio.

It's only a six-hour flight from Earth to the ISS! I've spent six hours going to and from work at least twice in the past three years! And that's just the suburbs to uptown Toronto! Thirty-four effing kilometers! For real.

"My dream is to see human beings and robots live together as friends," the robot added. "I will talk to you a lot from space so please listen to my chats."
Selfie - Kirobo posing in front of The Earth wearing earthglasses. Yes... the Earth. Where did I screw up so badly in life?
Now, since he can only speak Japanese, I assume he will be ignoring the Russian and American gaijin with respectful silence.

Anyhow, as I suspected, but again took too far, Kirobo's whole purpose is to see if a robotic companion can provide emotional support for people isolated for long periods of time. I had no idea that robot's had emotion to even lend support. I better be nicer to my toaster oven.

Hunh. The Japanese pilot gets a buddy, while the Russian and American can teach each the other how to swear in their language.

I'm kidding… I am sure all of these wonderful gentlemen speak English or Russian or Japanese and were able to communicate effectively.

I do think, however, that if you want to do a proper study on loneliness in space, you need to be alone.

Really... how the fug did I miss this story??!!

Andrew Joseph

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