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Kirobo Space Robonaut

Toyota are to assist in the first ever Robot-Human Conversation Experiments in space

Kirobo is a robot developed by Toyota to talk to humans. An expert in face and voice recognition, he's gearing up for a trip to space.

The International Space Station and Kirobo will host the first-ever Robot-Human Conversation Experiments. Isaac Asimov, Johnny 5, C3PO – it all starts here, with Kirobo.

Kirobo the Robonaut

Part robot, part astronaut, Kirobo is Japan's first ever robonaut. Before he was deemed ready for flight, he was put through a range of demanding trials, all of which he passed successfully. In a parabolic flight test his behaviour in zero G conditions was assessed, and he was also violently vibrated to make sure he'd withstand the pressures of a rocket launch.

And the best part is, Kirobo's not alone.

Kirobo is merely one of two humanoid verbal-communication robots developed partially by Toyota under the Kibo Robot Project. The other's called Mirata, who's going to act as ground crew during the experiments and assist in the solution of any issues that may arise during Kirobo's time in space.

Space Timeline

Kirobo the robonaut is set to leave for the International Space Station on August 4, 2013. Between August and September, Kirobo will be speaking, for the very first time, in space.

Commander Wakata will arrive at the ISS sometime in November of this year, and the first ever conversation between man and machine will take place in December 2013.

Commander Wakata will leave the ISS in May or June 2014, whilst Kirobo will return to Earth in December 2014.

Which is a relief. I'd hate for such a beautiful robot to suffer the same fate as the lonely Mars Rover, who to this day is still waiting to come home...