Robots have never been the same since the introduction of Honda's Asimo robot. Eleventh in line of a series of prototypes started in 1986 it stands as Honda's icon of being at the forefront of bipedal technology.
Sure, other robots have been produced capable of more advanced skills,but none with the history of the improvements- proof of the devoted time it took to create such an assembly. With his short statue, rounded curves, and innocent space man look Asimo has quickly become Honda's public relations unit.
Looking Asimo's family tree, it's hard not to notice the turn that was taken in the function of the design. Going from the bulky frame of P1 (that looks like it could hold up the car it's repairing), to P2 that seems to be made of lighter plastic parts, there was an obvious shift. Insert the Humanoid Robotics Project.
Spearheaded by Kawada with support from METI & NEDO the project started with the purchase of three Honda P3's. Watching videos on the HRP series, the focus has been to manipulate power tools and walk on slippery surfaces. An interesting feature that HRP-2 has is the ability to stand up again after lying flat on the floor either on its back or front. Something that Honda's ASIMO is not able to do. In a similar turn from industrial to friendly, HRP 4c was unveiled recently, a female robot weighting just over a hundred pounds pictured here at the right of two previous models.