Brand-new Asimo unveiled by Honda

Slimmed down and updated version has voice and face recognition

Remember Asimo? It was that 'cute' little robot that Honda used to showcase technology, well now it's back faster and more intelligent than ever

Honda have unveiled their updated Asimo robot which features a slimmed down design as well as improved physical movement, face and voice recognition.

Designed to be more than just a showcase of Honda's technological ability, Asimo 2011 has been developed in conjuction with the help effort at the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan. In fact Asimo's new advanced arm and hand was a starting point for a robotic arm that is now being used to turn valves in radioactive environments at the plant.

During the demonstration of Asimo's abilities the robot was able to jog at 5.6mph as well as pick up a flask, take off the top and pour a drink. Using its recognition technology it was also then able to differentiate three persons and work out which drinks they would like.

While this is all very neat, the purpose of Asimo is to be a stepping stone for further technologies to develop and as a step forward this is very much a major jump, taking into account the huge technological breakthroughs in voice and face recognition both being showcased elsewhere in Apple's Siri as seen on the iPhone 4S and of course Face Unlock which features on Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

What do you think of Asimo, a useful tool or just an incredibly expensive gimmick? Let us know via the comments box below...