New ASIMO, new tricks

'In the future there will be robots,' they said. Instead we got the Internet and mobile phones. 'So much for their promises', we thought. Then the bod

'In the future there will be robots,' they said. Instead we got the Internet and mobile phones. 'So much for their promises', we thought. Then the bods at Honda – power of dreams and all that – came up with this little fella, the ASIMO.

'Impressive', we cooed, 'but wouldn't it be better if he could push a little trolley, serve cups of tea and run in a circle?'

Well, what do you know? Turns out they were listening. That's because these just happen to be the new features on Honda's updated model, announced today.

New ASIMO looks a lot like old ASIMO, who's been pretty busy of late – opening EC Conferences, visiting Stade de France and, yes, even appearing on that denizen of after-school broadcasting, Blue Peter. Life's just been one long list of engagements for the child-sized plastic man.

But with a top speed of two miles and hour and a fairly limited repertoire, he could only stay in the limelight so long.

And so it was that he went back to the lab for this upgrade. Highlights include a doubling of his running speed to 4mph – that's the average speed we organic humanoids stroll around at. And, now that he can keep up with us, he can also hold our hands as we walk.

He's ready to go on duty in the Spring. If you want him to serve the teas round your office you'll have to get in line – he's only available to rent and he's already booked in for an extended session of meeting and greeting at Honda's Wako building.

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