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. Japanese Humanoid Is Working In The Rain

HRP-3 Promet Mk-II (C), HRP-2 Promet (L) and HRP-3 Prototype (R) humanoid robots are diplayed during the Promet Mk-II press preview at Kawada industry's laboratory in Haga town near Utsunomiya city north of Tokyo, 21 June 2007. The 160-cm-tall and 68-kg-weight humanoid robot is the upgrade model from HRP-2 Promet humanoid robot jointly developed by Kawada Industry, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Kawasaki heavy industry. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jun 22, 2007
Japan is a step closer to having an ideal worker who won't complain in torrential rain or on slippery floors as a company unveiled a next-generation humanoid Wednesday. Kawada Industries' HRP-3 Promet Mk-II, a 160-centimetre-tall (five feet, four inches) humanoid, walked on a slippery floor scattered with sand and held out its arms under a shower before media cameras.

"We have made a leap towards creating a humanoid that works in a real environment," the firm said in a joint statement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

The white robot, which wears a visor and has a passing resemblance to a "Star Wars" Imperial Stormtrooper, also used a screwdriver with its right hand while leaning forward on its left arm, balancing itself just like a human would.

The robot weighs 68 kilograms (149 pounds) including the battery.

"Our country is rapidly ageing and it is an urgent task to develop robots that can perform tasks only done by humans now," the statement said.

"If a humanoid can substitute human functions, the entire social cost would be reduced," it said.

Kawada Industries said the company hoped eventually to put the HRP-3 Promet Mk-II to commercial use.

Project manager Takakatsu Isozumi said the company wanted to target clients such as construction contractors by 2010, with each robot costing around 15 million yen (120,000 dollars) each.

"We want to increase the actions that this robot can do at construction sites, such as driving construction vehicles," he said.

Japan leads the world's robotic industries in fields ranging from manufacturing to entertainment and security. Last week Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said it would start renting out humanoids to staff front desks at offices and hospitals.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Japanese Robot Receptionists For Hire
Tokyo (AFP) June 14, 2007
Wanted: new receptionist. Must have wheels, sensors and face recognition technology. Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Thursday that it had started renting out its "wakamaru" robots to work at the front desk of offices, hospitals and other places in need of the humanoid touch.

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