Honda shows smarter robot, helps in nuclear crisis

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WAKO, Japan (AP) ? Honda’s human-shaped robot can now run faster, balance itself on uneven surfaces, hop on one foot and even almost “think” on its own.

Honda Motor Co. demonstrated the revamped Asimo Tuesday at its Tokyo suburban research facility, making the bubble-headed childlike machine walk on bumps and hop around to show the humanoid was now more limber and a bit smarter.

Honda also said it used some of Asimo’s technology in developing a robotic arm, with the intention of helping with the nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan.

The mechanical arm can open and close valves at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which went into meltdown after the March tsunami, it said.