June 18, 2010

Hitachi Unveils New Humanoid Skating Robot

Hitachi unveiled a pint sized roller-skating robot Friday that can negotiate uneven surfaces, respond to voice commands and could work as a tour guide or security guard.

The Japanese electronics giant said the EMIEW2 has complex spring-loaded shock absorbers in its legs that allow it to move across minor bumps and wires on the floor without tripping. 

"It can control its posture the way humans do when we stabilize ourselves after jumping on inline skates," Yuji Hosoda, chief researcher at Hitachi's transportation systems department, said at the robot's Tokyo launch.

The robot has 14 microphones fitted into its helmet that can pick out human voices from background noise such as music or the clatter of footsteps.  It is 32 inches tall and weighs about 31 pounds.

The humanoid is fitted with wheels on its two legs and moves a maximum of 3.7 miles an hour.

Hosoda said the red-and-white robot could be used as a receptionist and visitors' guide in office buildings.

"It could also be used for security, such as patrolling and surveillance as it could find a suspicious person hiding in blind spots out of range of fixed security cameras," he said.

"This adorable EMIEW could lead to a new form of surveillance."

The company has not yet announced any plans to commercialize the robot.

Hitachi said the name EMIEW is short for "excellent mobility and interactive existence as workmate."


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