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Japan Robotics Hardware

New HRP-4 Humanoid Robots From Japan To Go On Sale 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-they-come-with-evil-brothers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Kawada Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have unveiled their new humanoid robot, HRP-4. The new humanoid stands 151cm tall and is much thinner than its predecessors. For Japan, HRP-4 is another step forward in creating useful mechanical workers to deal with a forthcoming shortage in the labor force and care for an aging population. HRP-4's creators expect to start selling the robot to universities and other research institutions as early as January 2011 for a price tag of $300,000, which is not that bad for a humanoid." The HRP-4s are a whole $100,000 cheaper than Willow Garage's PR2 (non-humanoid) robots, which became available earlier this month. The difference really adds up when building your robot army. Ron Moore could not be reached for comment.
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New HRP-4 Humanoid Robots From Japan To Go On Sale

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  • by InsaneProcessor (869563) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:41PM (#33613692)
    This would be real impressive if the video showed the robot actually doing real work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:55PM (#33613836)

    Hmmm,... I guess Japan could try to invent intelligent robots to help their decrepit population, OR they could relax their racist immigration policies and allow immigrants in from Asia...
    I wonder which method has the best chance of working (actually I don't, it's fucking obvious to any non idiot)

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:21PM (#33614100)
    Immigrants pay taxes and pay into the pension system and consume (i.e. buy shit thereby creating more demand in the economy).
  • by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:22PM (#33614112) Journal
    I think that using robots instead of human beings to fight our wars just sets us up for a situation where 100% of the casualties of war will be civilians.
  • Re:Do tell us... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by L3370 (1421413) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:35PM (#33614856)
    Are you implying that a western nation. such as the U.S. perhaps, is better off without people like me that make it a "cultural zoo?" DIAF please.

    Japan has a history of disliking Koreans and the Chinese. They let everyone know in WW2. Although VERY much has changed in terms of their sentiments and superiority complex since then, I would NOT be surprised if those feelings are still lingering around in the form of odd immigration policies.

    It's funny how many of my fellow right-leaning americans (yes I can tell you are one by your post) discount everything they disagree with as Left Wing. As if your opinion is a wall, and anything outside of your wall is a land populated by undesirables and kooks.
  • by khallow (566160) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:02PM (#33615784)

    Some of those tasks might best be done by a humanoid, since humans have done them adequately for so long. Really they mostly need hands and arms, but maybe not, and feet, but only because we've got steps, and probably something more like tank tracks which can deform on the roller axles to "walk" or something like it.

    Having any or all of those tasks built into a single humanoid, or a team, is creepy. It's more a latent desire to enslave other humans than a desire to offload tasks to whatever just gets them done. Making them humanoid seems like a lot of extra work for just a fetish. So there's probably a market for AI "Real Doll" robots, but the stuff I don't want any part of doing should probably be a lot more abstract in form factor.

    So you want to expensive restructure your house to accommodate a tracked robot just because you don't want to seem to have a humanoid fetish? My take is that a human home is designed around a humanoid form. Hence, it doesn't take a fetish to desire a humanoid robot that can operate in your home without requiring substantial changes to the home.

  • by wrook (134116) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:56PM (#33617050) Homepage

    As an immigrant working in Japan I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. The immigration policies are not racist in-so-far as they don't discriminate against any particular group of people. Instead immigration is discouraged, period. You may believe this is because Japanese people are racist in general, but my opinion is that you are wrong. I have experienced considerably less racism here than I have seen in my home country of Canada.

    IMHO, the immigration policy here is sensible. Why on earth do you want to take an already populous country and add more people to it? Japan is an island country. Maintaining a stable population is a brilliant idea. Why do should we increase our population until we can't support ourselves any more. Already Japan, which has laws indicating that it must be self sufficient for staple foods, is importing a huge amount of its food from other countries. For an island country, this is a huge security risk (just look at the number of people who starved to death after WWII).

    The ironic thing is that immigration to Japan is surprisingly easy if you have identified scarce skills. And if you have lived here for a period of time (for any reason!) you can pretty much stay here permanently if you have one of these scarce skills and can guarantee that you will make a reasonable salary. Lately they have been contemplating a language requirement for this, but I have to say that I'm in total agreement.

    As an immigrant to Japan I get pretty frustrated with people making blanket statements about Japanese racism. In this case I really wonder whether you know what the immigration policy is, or if it is a knee-jerk assumption that it is based on racism. Life here is very different from the west and it is easy for foreigners to get into trouble. But most of this is due to the lack of Japanese language ability. Of the people I know here who are fluent in Japanese I can't think of any who have major difficulties living here. Conversely there are few westerners without Japanese fluency that have an easy time of it. Without the language it is virtually impossible to integrate with the society. In Japan, if you can't integrate you will be in for a rough ride.

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