31 August 2005

The Web

Domestic robot to debut in Japan

A robot that recognises up to 10 faces and understands 10,000 words is to be offered to Japanese consumers looking for a high-tech helper in the house.
The one-metre tall humanoid Wakamaru robot is being marketed as a mechanical house-sitter and secretary.
Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries expects the first robots to go on sale in September.
"This is the opening of an era in which human beings and robots can co-exist," the company said.
The company says the robot can watch over homes while the owners are away, alerting them to possible burglaries.
It can also apparently help monitor the condition of a sick person.
And according to Mitsubishi, the robot can act as a secretary, recording notes and appointments and reminding owners of them with well-timed announcement.
The Wakamaru weighs 30kg (66lb) and is expected to cost 1.58m yen (US$14,300). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries says it is the first robot with communication ability to be sold for use in the house.
It is powered by rechargeable batteries and moves around on wheels, Japan's Kyodo news agency reports.

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