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Kirobo, Japan’s robot astronaut, speaks in space for first time (VIDEO)

The first human-designed robot has spoken in outer space.

Kirobo 09 05 2013Enlarge
Japanese robot Kirobo talks to humans at the International Space Station on Aug. 21, 2013. (Screengrab)

"This is Kirobo. I am the world's first talking robot astronaut. Yoroshiku ne!"

Last month, a human-designed robot spoke its first words in outer space, according to Japanese advertising company Dentsu Corp.

Kirobo, which can recognize human speech and respond with verbal responses based on past conversations as well as preprogrammed words and actions, arrived at the International Space Station in early August.

On Aug. 21, Kirobo delivered its first speech in space. "On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all,” it said in Japanese.

When Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives at the ISS in November or December to command the space station for about six months, he will attempt to have a conversation with Kirobo.

The android was built by a consortium of Japanese companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., Dentsu Corp. and Robo Garage Co., in collaboration with scientists from the University of Tokyo's Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The companies are interested in developing a robot that can act as a companion to human astronauts.

"The main objective is that humans can talk to it and feel some sort of closeness to it," the developers said in a statement. "That is why we decided to give it a humanoid shape."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/130905/kirobo-japan-s-robot-astronaut-speaks-space-first-ti