Robot Astronaut Kirobo and Commander Koichi Wakata Conduct a Conversation Experiment in the International Space Station

  Robot Astronaut Kirobo and Commander Koichi Wakata Conduct a Conversation
  Experiment in the International Space Station

Business Wire

TOKYO -- December 19, 2013

Dentsu Inc. (TOKYO:4324) (ISIN:JP3551520004) (President & CEO: Tadashi Ishii;
Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 74,609.81 million yen) announced today that on
December 6, 2013, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi
Wakata and robot astronaut Kirobo held a conversation experiment on board the
International Space Station (ISS).

Commander Wakata and Kirobo (Photo: Business Wire)

Commander Wakata and Kirobo (Photo: Business Wire)

The conversation, the first of its kind between a human and a robot in outer
space, represents the latest development in the KIBO ROBOT PROJECT, a joint
research project being carried out by Dentsu, the University of Tokyo’s
Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, ROBO GARAGE Co., Ltd. and
Toyota Motor Corporation. JAXA is also providing extensive assistance.

Experiment content:
1. Autonomous conversation using voice recognition technology
2. Communication with people on Earth


Extract from the conversation experiment (translation)
Wakata:                       How did you get out here into space, Kirobo?
Kirobo:                        On a Kounotori* from Tanegashima.
Wakata:                        Oh, so you flew all the way into space on a
                               bird?
Kirobo:                        It wasn’t a bird, it was the Kounotori rocket.
Wakata:                        It’s incredible that you came here all by
                               yourself.
Kirobo:                        Well, I’m a robot!
                               
*Kounotori is the Japanese word for “white stork” and is also the name of the
H-II Transfer Vehicle used with the H-IIB Launch Vehicle.


Further conversations will be held, and conversation logs and other data will
be gathered and utilized by the project participants. The key aims of the
project are to facilitate the coexistence of people and robots, and to explore
possible future deployment of communication robots in outer space.


Kirobo’s basic specifications
-- Dimensions:     Height: 34 cm, Width: 18 cm, Depth: 15 cm (approx.)
-- Weight:          1000 g (approx.)
-- Language:        Japanese
                    Voice recognition, natural language processing, voice
-- Main features:   (speech) synthesis, telecommunications functions,
                    gestures, facial recognition camera, recording camera


Key project developments to date
Nov 29, 2012   The project is announced; the public begins proposing robot
                names.
Jun 26, 2013    Kirobo and backup (ground) crew member Mirata are completed
                and introduced at a press conference.
Aug 4, 2013     Kirobo leaves Japan for the ISS aboard the Kounotori 4
                transfer vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center.
Aug 10, 2013    Kirobo arrives at the ISS.
Aug 21, 2013    Kirobo speaks his first words in outer space:
                “On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a
                brighter future for all.”
For reference
Nov 7, 2013     JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata boarded the Russian spacecraft
                Soyuz and arrived at the ISS the following day.


Future project plans
Dec 2014  Kirobo scheduled to return to Earth.
           

Kibo Robot Project website: http://kibo-robo.jp/en/
Twitter: @kibo_robo (Japanese language only)

                                    #####

About the Dentsu Group

Led by Dentsu Inc. (TOKYO:4324) (ISIN:JP3551520004), the world's largest
advertising agency brand with a history of 112 years, the Dentsu Group offers
a comprehensive range of client-centric communications and media services in
110 countries across five continents. Its Japan-wide network and London-based
global operating unit Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd., which oversees the operations
of Aegis Media, a leading global media and digital communications specialist,
as well as those of the Dentsu Network, which manages all of Dentsu's other
global business operations outside Japan, together employ more than 37,000
dedicated professionals. The Group is also active in the production and
marketing of sports and entertainment content on a global scale.

Dentsu Inc.: www.dentsu.com
Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd: www.dentsuaegisnetwork.com
Dentsu Network: www.dentsunetwork.com

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Contact:

Dentsu Inc.
Shusaku Kannan, (813) 6216-8042
Senior Manager
Corporate Communications Division
s.kannan@dentsu.co.jp