I, Robot

Developers at Fujitsu have built a Windows XP-based robot that they are targeting for use in the service industry.

The new robot, which can move along at 3 km/hr, has a head that is capable of moving up, down, left, and right, as well as arms with four degrees of freedom, and left and right motor-driven wheels that can rotate independently.

A CPU controls the entire robot working in tandem with a 3D visual processing system that is comprised of a digital signal processor (DSP) and custom hardware.

As such, the new robot is capable of perceiving people or objects in the area surrounding it, while simultaneously measuring their location through the use of two cameras which it can select from the eight it carries on board, processing the images through the use of the 3D visual processing system. What’s more, by using its visual processing system to assist it, the robot can hold objects and press buttons, such as those on an elevator.

The developers of the robot have also deployed what they call their ‘central pattern generator (CPG)/ numerical perturbation (NP) method’, which apparently simulates the nervous system of vertebrates, allowing the robot’s arms to move naturally and smoothly.

The 63 kg robot is equipped with multiple microphones that enable it to detect the direction of a sound source. So in addition to visually detecting people, it can understand and complete simple tasks that it is given verbally.

The robot can also connect to the Internet, search for information according to user request, and present the information in the method that best fits the situation – through its ‘voice’, displaying the information on its own display, or pointing to information from a separate source.

When its Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries run low on power, it autonomously moves to a charger to charge itself back up.

Fujitsu Frontech plans to commercialise the robot, with sales scheduled to begin in June 2005.