The 13-inch android is scheduled to be completed by next summer and will be sent to the orbiting ISS shortly before astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives, according to officials of the Kibo Robot Project.
Currently being developed by a consortium of companies, including Toyota, Robo Garage Co. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the robot will weigh around 2.2lbs and be able to recognise Wakata’s facial features.
It will then have the ability to communicate with the astronaut in Japanese and take photographs during their stay on the space station.
After Wakata has completed his six-month stay aboard the ISS, the robot will stay behind to send messages to schools in Japan and around the world.
It will be able to post messages on Twitter and other social media sites, take pictures within the Kibo research module on the ISS, Japan’s contribution to the international project, and of the Earth from outer space.
A second android will be developed at the same time to serve as a backup and to demonstrate the device’s capabilities to audiences here on Earth.
In a statement, the organisers said the robot will be designed to “help solve social problems through communication”.
“The main objective is that humans can talk to it and feel some sort of closeness to it,” the developers said. “That is why we decided to give it a humanoid shape.”
Through the project’s web page – http://kibo-robo.jp/en/ – organisers are calling on members of the public to give the robot a name before it is sent on its mission.
Re-printed from The Telegraph.