Though President Barack Obama usually rides around in an armored Cadillac, during a recent state visit to Japan he had an encounter with a Honda. Specifically, the POTUS met ASIMO at Tokyo’s museum of science.
The Honda ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, is a bipedal robot with an array of functions that mimic human movement. The meeting took place as the Commander-in-Chief stopped by Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
During the man-machine mini-summit, Honda demonstrated some of ASIMO’s key functions, including walking, running (defined as both feet leaving the ground simultaneously), and hopping on one foot. As part of the demonstration ASIMO kicked a ball to Obama, who skillfully stopped it with his foot, surely to go down in history as the world’s first President-automaton soccer pass.
Obama described the robot as “a little scary,” “too lifelike,” and “amazing.”
Introduced in 2000, Honda developed ASIMO to promote human-machine interaction. Potential uses for the robot include helping the handicapped or elderly with basic tasks. ASIMO can also communicate in American and Japanese sign language.
Honda has been working on robotics since the 1980s. Most Japanese automakers, including Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi, have similar programs in place. Watch the video of the presidential soccer block below.