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Robots Shoveling Snow? Humanoid Robot Inspires Students to Study Science

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(ARA) – Imagine getting some help decorating your holiday tree or shoveling snow off your driveway from a friendly robot. It could happen sometime in the future.

Honda is asking kids to imagine what it would be like if robots were a part of our daily lives. The ASIMO Essay Contest provides a chance for one school to win an exclusive visit from ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, in March of 2004.

“We hope that the ASIMO Essay Contest encourages students across the nation to dream about the future of robotics,” said Jeffrey Smith, leader of the ASIMO North American Project. “We also hope that it inspires them to learn more about the science and technology involved in humanoid robotics.”

Developed by Honda after 17 years of research, ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), can walk forward and backward, turn smoothly without pausing, climb stairs and maintain balance while walking on uneven slopes and surfaces. With its smooth moves, ASIMO can even disco dance with the best of them. This compact robot is about the size of a fourth grader, but it represents big possibilities for the future of robotic technology.

Created to resemble a human shape and operate in human environments, ASIMO has two arms and two hands, necessary to someday work in our world where we need to reach and grasp objects, switch lights on and off and open and close doors. ASIMO also can recognize the faces of a select number of individuals and respond to voice commands and hand signals.

Honda hopes that one day ASIMO may be able to assist elderly, disabled and other people in need with day-to-day activities. In the future, a robot like ASIMO could also possibly perform dangerous duties such as fighting fires and cleaning up hazardous wastes.

To enter the contest, each participating class or group of students will research the science and history of robotics and submit an essay on their school's vision of the role of humanoid robots in our society. The contest is open to all public and private elementary, middle, junior high and high schools in the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia. The winning school will be notified by February 20, 2004.

ASIMO is currently traveling on a North American Educational to motivate students to study sciences such as math, engineering, physics and computer science. Classroom materials for teachers and robotics-related educational resources for parents can be found at www.asimo.honda.com.

For more information about the ASIMO North American Educational Tour and the essay contest, visit www.asimo.honda.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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