Japanese Domestic Robot Performs Unwanted Extreme Home Makeover

Osaka, Japan, April 12, 2011 -- Honda Motor Company's technology division may soon face a legal challenge from an irate homeowner who claims his Honda ASIMO Series XII, a small, humanoid domestic robot, performed an "extreme home makeover" on the owner's suburban Osaka residence while the owner was away on business.

Kitchen of Mr. Ozaki's home following ASIMO makeoverKitchen of Mr. Ozaki's home following ASIMO makeover

According to the homeowner, advertising executive Masashi Ozaki, the robot "completely ruined" the house's painstakingly detailed chromatic and furnishings scheme, replacing it with a "techno horror".

"I purchased the robot earlier in this year to help me keep the house tidy, particularly when I am away on business," said an irate Ozaki. "It worked most well for some many time, and he is very quiet. It cleans dishes, vacuums, and is very good at organizing magazines into fan arrangements on tabletop. I never expect anything like this to happen. I am very angry."

Honda initially developed its line of ASIMO robots early last decade primarily as a means by which to showcase advanced technologies that could also be applied to its lines of automobiles and motorcycles, but the popular electronic companions quickly caught on in Japan as an essential accessory to any affluent homescape. The small, fuel-cell powered robots, which are built to resemble human beings in both appearance and functionality, are designed to perform a multitude of both menial and more advanced tasks including cleaning and tidying, laundry, filing, oil changes, tax returns, home-schooling, voting, and issuing fire and medical alerts in the event of an emergency.

Described by Joshua Rilke, editor of Neat Technology Magazine, as "strikingly conceived, crisply implemented", the ASIMO robots are capable of acquiring and processing information about their surroundings in order to increase their efficiency and accuracy when performing their standard task set, and to develop new customized features based on the challenges of any particular environment. Rilke's assessment is that Mr. Ozaki's robot simply did precisely what it was programmed to do, but perhaps more comprehensively than expected. Maruyama Shigeki, Honda's Vice President for Corporate Communications, confirms Rilke's interpretation:

"The ASIMO XII learns all about its owner by watching behavior, determining sense and task priority on real-time basis," he said. "I have no doubt ASIMO observed Mr. Ozaki interacting with his home and furnishing in such a way that the electronic assistant came to logical conclusion Mr. Ozaki was displeased. Having also learned Mr. Ozaki's preferential patterns with regard to cleaning and tidying schedules, ASIMO correctly determined to wait with major restructural measures until such measures could be performed without disturbing Mr. Ozaki, that is until Mr. Ozaki went away from house on vacation. This behavior is all described in detail in the owner's manual. There has been no malfunction."

According to Mr. Shigeki, Honda has no plan to compensate Mr. Ozaki for what Mr. Ozaki terms "the complete destruction of my harmonious home environment."

"If Mr. Ozaki is displeased with the new environment," said Mr. Shigeki, "ASIMO will know and will once again perform any necessary modifications in due course. Mr. Ozaki must show emotions for ASIMO, and wait."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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