During his recent trip through Asia, US President Barack Obama was introduced to a very unique type of Japanese citizen: the robotic kind. In a brief press event during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2010 Summit, Obama met with Kawada and AIST’s humanoid HRP-4C robot. After a brief conversation with the female looking 4C (alas, no dancing) the President was hurried over to pet Paro, the robotic baby seal. After that it was time to sit and relax…in a single person vehicle. Obama had a chance to recline in Toyota’s iReal car, which can reach top speeds of 15 km/h and could be Japan’s answer to the Segway. After a two foot test drive of the iReal the brief sojourn into modern technology was over. Check out the entire event in the video below. President Obama, this was a challenge to the US robotics industry! How can you be so calm?
I’m normally against overt nationalistic sentiments because I find them rather outdated (The Cold War? How quaint). But I can’t help get a little patriotic when I see Japan trot out their robots and futuristic vehicles and parade them before the President. You want to show off your robots and cars? Ha! We’ve already combined them into one super robot car. How do you like us now, Nippon?
In all seriousness, it’s just nice to see heads of state show some interest in robotics. Don’t know if Obama’s two minutes with Paro and HRP-4C will translate to any meaningful increase in publicly funded robotics research in the US, but I can hope.
Mr. President, we must not allow a
mineshaft robot gap!
[screen capture and video credit: NECN]
[source: Huffington Post]