In case it gets lonely in space, the Japanese have unveiled the first talking robo-astronaut as part of the world's first human-robot conversation experiment.

Kirobo, the world’s first space conversation robot, will be launched into space from the Tanegashima Space Centre to the International Space Station Sunday.

The robot was built with Toyota's latest voice-recognition software.


The world’s first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. It's named Kirobo, after “kibo” or hope in Japanese and “robot.” (Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press)

Kirobo’s purpose is to chat with Commander Koichi Wakata, who will become the first Japanese commander of the ISS in November.

The robot can recognize human faces and speech, and is equipped with a camera.