Dentsu Inc. announced that on Dec. 6, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and robot astronaut Kirobo held a conversation experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS).
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 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 Corp.
JAXA is also providing extensive assistance.
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.