While robots have been used in manufacturing for many
years, they are nothing like the robots you would have in your home if
you were a part of TV's Jetsons or Futurama. Many electronics and even
car companies are now working on robots that one day may find themselves
in your home.
One such home Robot is Mitsubishi's Wakamaru. Wakamaru is designed to be
simple robot that is able to almost become one of the family, able to
converse with family members via voice recognition and facial
recognition, he can recognise up to 10000 words. Apart from responding
to a name that you can give the robot, he has several sensors to find
you in your home like responding to sound or heat. The robot stores maps
of you home that he compares to your ceiling with his camera to know
what room he is in.
Wakamaru can keep up to date with you daily life pattern and it has a
mechanism to speak words referencing the human communication, as well as
to face the person to speak to and to move while keeping a distance with
a person and to use gestures according to the conversation. Based on the
information obtained from your daily life pattern or from your contact,
it approaches you and provides a topic according to life scenes. or he
can access the internet to tell you your favorite piece of information.
Wakamaru lives beside you from wakeup time to bed time in harmony with
your life. If it finds you in the same room, it comes closer to you and
speaks to you. At night, it stands by at its charging station and
responds if requested.
The robot will be a benefit to security minded people and the elderly,
he can be used to monitor your home while you are away and email you
pictures of your house. He can be programmed to remind you to take your
pills at a given time or alert others if there is a wide difference
between the users daily life schedule and the contact like if you do not
enter the dining room at the usual time in the morning, or do not go out
of home as scheduled.
Operating under the Linux operating system, the
cute Wakamaru robot is wheel driven which confines him to simple single
story houses, he uses both ultrasonic and infra red sensors to avoid
collisions and can return return to his charging station when he needs a
feed of power. His arms have 4 degrees of movement and he can sense if
they hit something. his neck has 3 degrees of movement and has touch
sensors along with his neck to provide the user another way to respond
It is unknown yet when Wakamaru will go on
sale, nor have prices been set although the latter is expected to be
above 9000 dollars, a price that can be viewed as cheap if you compare
this to hiring a butler. Sure the robot will never be able to do as much
as the butler can but the robot may be more fun to play with.