TOKYO - President Obama today got up close and personal with the latest in Japanese science and technology, including an encounter with a humanoid robot named "ASIMO."
During a photo op at the Miraikan museum, which showcases Japanese emerging science and innovation, Obama and the robot bowed at each other and even had a conversation in English.
"It's nice to meet you," ASIMO said in an electronic voice. "I can kick a soccer ball, too."
"OK, come on," Obama said in wry disbelief.
ASIMO, or Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, accepted the challenge, fetching a ball, stepping back, then punting it toward the president. Obama deftly trapped the ball with his foot.
"How about that, that was pretty impressive," he said.
The robot, which was designed by Honda, told the president it had learned to jump and started to demonstrate.
Later, in remarks to students and civic officials at the museum, Obama joked that "the robots are a little scary. They're too lifelike."
During his tour, Obama also got a special taped message from Japanese astronauts aboard the International Space Station, who demonstrated on a large video screen new Global Precipitation Measurement satellites (GPM) data.