Monday, March 13, 2006

AIST develops autonomous humanoid robot


On January 23, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Ibaraki unveiled its HRP-2 humanoid robot equipped with a new system that enables autonomous self-directed operation. The robot demonstrated the ability to respond to spoken human commands by retrieving a can of juice from a refrigerator and bringing it to the person who requested it.

The robot’s head is equipped with improved cameras, which serve as eyes, and it incorporates a system that enables it to perceive its environment, remove any obstacles it encounters along the way, and self-correct its direction if it strays off course.

At the demonstration, a person seated at a table instructed a robot to bring him some juice. The robot communicated the command to a second robot, which then walked to the refrigerator, moving chairs out of the way as it proceeded. It opened the door of the refrigerator, retrieved a can of juice, and brought it back to the table.

AIST has also developed a robot that relies on laser beams to get a three-dimensional understanding of its surroundings. According to the institute, “The HRP-2 is a robot that can provide assistance in real-life situations. Further integration of technology will lead to more functional enhancements in the future.”

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