Space is lonely and if something bad happens up there, nobody can hear you scream, right? Well, one Japanese astronaut no longer needs to fear the isolation. iTechPost reports that a talking robot is set to journey to the International Space Station (ISS) to provide Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata with companionship. The robot is called “Kirobo” and it speaks Japanese.
Astronaut Wakata won’t actually be alone in the ISS. There will be other astronauts and cosmonauts around. But little Kirobo, who stands barely a foot tall, will be the only other Japanese speaker on the station. Wakata is scheduled to be the Commander of Expedition 39 to the ISS and spend about 6 months in space.
Another article on the talking robot Kirobo in Design Boom states that the chatty android uses natural language processing and recognition technology from Toyota. It would be interesting to know more about the little bot’s conversational abilities. Perhaps some of its skills can be leveraged in the future to improve the conversational skills of virtual agents serving people right here on Earth.