Saturday, January 28, 2006

This is a video I took showing the HRP2 humanoid robot doing a martial arts routine.

With all the hype around humanoid robots it is easy to forget that by far the biggest market in the world for robots is in industrial robots. industrial robots first appeared in the USA in the 1960s but by the late 70s Japan had improved the designs and was filling a seemingly insatiable demand for the machines in its own booming manufacturing market. As of 2005 Japan still maintained dominance of this sector with Japanese companies making the majority of the robots and Japan itself still accounting for around half of all industrial robots in the entire world, although its share is diminishing as other countries rapidly add to their stocks.

Bye Bye Aibo

According to news reports Sony is stopping all of its robot research. This means that soon production of the Aibo robot dog will cease and, presumably, Qrio, the prototype humanoid robot, will also be canned. This is an interesting development although I suspect that it has more to do with attempts by Sony to overturn a few years of not so good results rather than a general malaise inthe robot field. Indeed, one can`t help wondering if Sony is leaving at just the wrong time...

Monday, January 16, 2006


I can`t decide if these little fellows are cute or scary. They are called MuuSocial. I am not sure who the manufacturers are, I think they are being developed by Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International. While many researchers into home robots have spent a lot of time in either making their robots as clever as possible or a physically advanced as possible, these researchers have taken a different tack. As far as they are concerned, the home robot of the future is about providing a friendly and intuitive interface between the human and the myriad networked systems in the home. The key to natural and effortless communication between man and machine relies on humans being able to relate to the machine on an emotional level. And MuuSocial is being developed with that end in mind, kind of like an emotionally intelligent network hub.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Japanese robot book update

Good news! It looks like I am about to get a literary agent for my Japanese robot book. I had been hoping to get one for a while. Now, if things go well and the agent agrees, I can turn my attention back to writing the book. I hope it will be published later this year. I`ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.

Fujitsu HOAP 3

Fujitsu recently revealed the newest addition to the HOAP line of robots; HOAP3. These small robots resemble Sony`s QRIO and are produced and sold by Fujitsu to research labs in universities and companies. The owners use the robots to test their own behaviour and movement control algorithms. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of HOAP 3 but I did take a video of it which you can see above

Emiew front view

A front view of Emiew.

Hitachi Emiew

This is Hitachi`s Emiew robot. The robot has a vocabulary of around 100 words. Its apparent weakness; wheels instead of legs, is being marketed as a strength by the company: It means that the robot can move much more quickly than the standard bipeds. Hitachi hopes that the robot will be ready for use in the home and office in a few years time.