By Jacob Pustilnik
I’m writing about our experience at the Honda showroom. Outside were some of Honda’s new models, including their version of the small square-ish hatchback car/van. Inside there were a few Honda machines, including some Formula-1s and a couple of motorcylces. The exhibition that we were supposed to attend was just starting, so we took a seat and watched. The presenter was on one of Honda’s sit-down-Segway-type devices. Next came the real part of the show: the robot, Asimo. Asimo is Honda’s humanoid robot that it’s been working on since 1981. Until the early 90s, it was mostly working on just a way to make a robot walk, which was hard to do as early models fell over. As Honda refined its prototypes, it gained a torso and culminated with Asimo. I actually learned about Asimo in 8th grade when doing a robotics research project and when I watched a documentary over it, so it didn’t completely surprise me. If anything, I appreciated Asimo even more after having prior knowledge. The presentation demonstrated its physical capabilities, including running at seven kilometers per hour, hopping on one foot, and doing sign language. Its movements were approaching the uncanny valley. They were strangely human, but shockingly smooth. Unlike humans, Asimo froze once it stopped moving. At the end, there was a chance for a photo op with Asimo striking a pose. All of us took a group picture, and individual pictures were taken of me and my brother, Eli. After Asimo, I looked around the rest of the showroom. There were racing hubs and a regular car hub for people to feel, and racing hubs are a lot lighter than regular hubs. I tried sitting on a motorcycle. There was a little scavenger hunt for a few items in a picture, and I found all of them and won a cool pen. I forgot to peruse the gift shop, but Eli said that everything there was expensive anyway. Our time was then up, and we all left. I really appreciated that site because I myself am a technology enthusiast and am on the Bellaire robotics team. I’m pretty sure that the VP, a senior named Bernard, will be pretty amazed when I show him.