TOKYO (TIP): In a world first, Japan is set to send a talking robot-astronaut to the International Space Station to conduct the first conversation between a human and a robot in outer space. Kirobo, the robot astronaut, is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center, located in southwestern Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture, aboard the Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft to ISS on August 4. Named after a combination of the Japanese word kibo, or “hope”, and the word “robot”, the Kirobo project is part of an experiment that will see the first human-robot conversation held in space, the ‘Japan Daily Press’ reported. Kirobo is about 34 centimetres tall and weighs about one kilogramme, which makes it smaller than most robots that go into space.
The robot has already undergone several pre-launch tests, including simulations with zero gravity, the report said. During one of the first demonstrations, the robot’s developers asked Kirobo what its dream was. It replied that it “hoped to create a future where humans and robots live together and get along.” Kirobo, the talking robot, was jointly developed by the University of Tokyo, Toyota, and Dentsu Inc.