Fujitsu develops mobile phone-controlled robot

Fujitsu Laboratories has announced the development of MARON-1, a domestic robot that can be remotely controlled by mobile phone to operate electronic appliances in the home.

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd today announced that it has developed a new robot for the home, the MARON-1, which can be remotely controlled by mobile phone to operate domestic electronic appliances or monitor household security.

According to Fujitsu, the ambulatory prototype robot is equipped with a range of functions, including telephone, camera, remote control, timer and surveillance equipment.

With these features it is envisioned that MARON-1 could be used for monitoring homes or offices at night or for checking up on persons requiring special care and monitoring.

Maron-1 is said to consist of a drive mechanism; a camera that can rotate left, right, up and down; a programmable remote control to control domestic electronic appliances and a PHS communication card that, together with i-appli software, enables the robot to be operated remotely by NTT DoCoMo mobile phones.

With remote operation by mobile phone, the robot can take pictures and relay them to the phone’s screen, so that the owner can check conditions at home.

The owner can give precise commands in order to manoeuvre the robot in any direction. Additionally, by storing the home’s layout in the robot’s memory, the owner can give the robot a destination, and it will automatically navigate to that point, avoiding obstacles and manoeuvring over door saddles and other surface gradations along the way.

Alternatively, a pattern may be established for it to patrol a designated course. If the robot detects an intruder then it can sound an alarm and call a pre-set number.

The robot’s infrared remote control capability can be used to operate appliances such as air conditioners, televisions and VCRs.

The robot can also be scripted to take specific actions at specific times. For example, it can be used as a hands-free telephone, an alarm clock or timer, or it can be programmed to take pictures around the house at pre-set times and relay them to the homeowner.

Fujitsu will be presenting details on the new robot at the Japan Robot Conference, opening October 12, 2002 at Osaka University.

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