By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
He’s a little over a foot tall, weighs about 2 pounds, and is super cute! Say Hello to Kirobo, the first humanoid Japanese robot ever launched into space!
“Russia was the first to go to outer space, the US was the first to go to the Moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans,” said Yorichika Nishijima, the Kirobo project manager.
Kirobo may be small, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a very smart robot. The tiny metal body has been put through several zero-gravity and safety tests to make sure he was space-ready. His big cartoonish eyes hold cameras that can recognize a human’s face, while his little ears can recognize the sound of a human’s voice. Best of all, Kirobo can talk! His designer, a man named Tomotaka Takahashi said, “I wish for this robot to function as a mediator between person and machine, or person and Internet and sometimes even between people.”
Well, Kirobo can talk right? I want to know what he had to say! When project manager Fuminori Kataoka asked Kirobo what his dreams were, the tiny bot said he “hoped to create a future where humans and robots live together and get along.”
Awww, how adorable! Besides helping people talk with robots, he also has another very important job… being a friend to astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will join the robot in space later this year.
Kirobo knows how important he is in space history, which is made clear when he proudly said, “One small step for me, a giant leap for robot-kind.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, friend!