Could ASIMO pave the way for robot gardeners?

Could ASIMO pave the way for robot gardeners?
    Although the field of robotics is progressing at a rapid speed, it still looks as though we're a long way from designing a machine that will be able to perform all of the tasks of a gardener.

Versatility isn't a strong point of robot gardening. While Charles Grinnell has developed robots that can undertake lifting and carrying tasks in agriculture, at the moment they can't be used to perform many other tasks.

And a fully automated robot garden sounds impressive. But when most of us think of robots, we think of a machine that resembles a human and can do many of the things we can do.

It's taken a long time for engineers to develop a robot that resembles a human, but they're getting closer and closer every year.

Honda claims its ASIMO robot is "the world's most advanced humanoid robot". It recently visited New York, and it's now more human-like than ever.

ASIMO showed off a range of new skills demonstrating its increased flexibility and balance – it is now able to jump and run at a speed of 5.6 mph.

The robot now even has sign-language abilities and would make a decent bartender, as it can open a bottle and serve drinks. 

ASIMO is able to recognise postures and gestures, faces and sounds, enabling it to interact with humans. It can even recognise its own name and respond to questions.

Originally, ASIMO – short for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility – was designed to help those suffering from reduced mobility. 

"ASIMO was designed to help those in society who need assistance, and Honda believes that these improvements in ASIMO bring us another step closer to our ultimate goal of being able to help all kinds of people in need," the Japanese firm's senior chief engineer Satoshi Shigemi commented.

If ASIMO can shake hands, recognise its name and serve you a drink, how long before it can prune your roses and mow your lawn? Maybe robot gardening isn't such a distant dream, after all.

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