ASIMO, the walking Honda robot, is here to visit as part of some sort of tour. They’ve put together an expensive and technicolored set on our stage. Honda guards are posted all over and Honda posters and things are all over the walls.

ASIMO is first introduced by a man from the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing here at Stanford. He speaks with such an unmanufacturingly-like enthusiasm and precision that I wonder if, in addition to the set, the posters, and the guards, Honda actually went to the trouble of training the local person to introduce them — or worse, hiring a professional announcer to join the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing.

[UPDATE: John Aney, the fellow from the Alliance wrote in soon after I posted this. “I know your blog is read pretty widely,” he writes — apparently it’s read more widely than I thought. He explains his enthusiasm by saying he’s an actor and thanks me for plugging AIM (not to be confused with AOM).]

Then the even more enthusiastic and precise Honda guy runs on the stage, lauding ASIMO as “an amazing technological achievement”, with the kind of easily-mocked enthusiastic-announcer emphasis on amazing that you’d expect. The whole show is very professional, with timed lighting and multiple plasma screen displays and projectors and so on. The guy shows us a movie entitled about how ASIMO’s history, entitled the “Power of Dreams”. The lighting on stage even changes in sync with the film. We see how ASIMO is so famous, he’s even been on South Park.

Then it’s time for the main event. ASIMO comes out in a huge rockstar entrance, with smoke and loads of applause while “Walking on Sunshine” plays. The emotional pitch is perfect; you can’t help but love the little robot. ASIMO shows us his adorable hula hoop and disco moves. Then comes the big deal — he walks up stairs. (ASIMO can only walk up stairs which have been pre-measured and specially marked.)

I can’t help but wonder where the got the money for all this silliness. The Japanese government must have paid them, I guess.

posted February 04, 2005 05:03 PM (Education) (1 comments) #


Keeping Up with the Rosses
Stanford: Monday, November 29
Stanford: Tuesday, November 30
Stanford: Wednesday, December 1
Stanford: Thursday, December 2
Stanford: Friday, December 3
Stanford: Saturday, December 4
Your Congress is a Bunch of Idiots
Stanford: Sunday, December 5
George Ryan on the Penalty of Death
Stanford: Tuesday, December 7


I love this little robot I sad that I missed such a disply at your school. I hope things are going well and that you are learning alot I see that you have won alot of awardsat at a young age.

posted by Mike at February 6, 2005 01:19 PM #

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Aaron Swartz (