Humanoid communication robot Kirobo shakes hands with his creator Tomotaka Takahashi

Japanese talking robot on its way to ISS

Kirobo, the 34cm tall talking robot developed by Japanese researchers is aboard the Japanese resupply H-2B rocket heading towards the ISS.

The black and white robot, equipped with voice and facial recognition software will be helping astronauts with their daily workload, and to test the human-machine interface.

Kirobo reportedly only speaks Japanese, which means he will probably have to wait for the arrival of Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata this November to exercise his conversation skills.

The robot, weighing only about 1kg, said it "hoped to create a future where humans and robots live together and get along" during a recent demonstration. Kirobo, whose name is a combination of Japanese words for hope and robot, has been designed by Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO of Robo Garage Company and project associate professor at the research centre for advanced science and technology at Tokyo University.

The robot was specifically built to be able to navigate and move around in the micro-gravity environment.

Earlier this month, the robot boarded the Japanese H-2B freight vehicle, carrying supplies for the crew aboard the ISS, which lifted off towards the orbital outpost from the Tanegashima Space Center in south-west Japan on Sunday. According to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, the cargo-carrier is scheduled to arrive at the orbital outpost on Friday (9 August).

Kirobo will stay aboard the station until late 2014.

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