Manufacturing and Engineering Science

Profiles of Kirobo and Mirata

Tokyo, Japan, September 5, 2013 – Kirobo and Mirata are two humanoid communication robots developed under the Kibo Robot Project, a joint research project being carried out by Dentsu Inc. (Dentsu), the University of Tokyo‘s ResearchCenter for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), Robo Garage Co., Ltd. (Robo Garage), and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) also provided extensive assistance.

The Kibo Robot Project, which is still ongoing, aims to create a humanoid communication robot that will be a companion for the Japanese astronaut working in the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. Kibo means hope in Japanese.

Robot Specifications (Kirobo & Mirata)

  • Dimensions: Height: 34 cm, Width: 18 cm, Depth: 15 cm (approx.)
  • Weight: Approx. 1 kg
  • Language: Japanese
  • Main features: Voice recognition, natural language processing, voice synthesis, telecommunications functions, gestures, facial recognition camera, recording camera

Kirobo was transported to the ISS aboard the Kounotori 4 cargo transfer vehicle atop H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4, launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at 4:48 JST on August 4. Kirobo arrived at the station six days later, and will stay there for about a year and a half.

On August 21, Kirobo became the first robot to speak in outer space. Kirobo’s words reflected the importance of its mission: “On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all.”

In November or December this year, Kirobo and JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the ISS, will take part in the world’s first conversation between a robot and a person in outer space as part of an initiative designed to explore the possibilities of humans coexisting with robots in the future.

Provisional Timeline

August 4, 2013                                  Robot astronaut Kirobo leaves Japan for the ISS

August 21, 2013                                Kirobo speaks for the first time in outer space

Nov-Dec 2013                                   Commander Wakata arrives at the ISS

Nov-Dec 2013                                   Commander Wakata and Kirobo have their first conversation

May-June 2014                                 Commander Wakata leaves the ISS

December 2014 or later                      Kirobo returns to Earth


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Original Source:: Toyota Canada Inc. (via noodls) / Profiles of Kirobo and Mirata