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Japan Robotics Hardware

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

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 ourcraft ( 874165 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:53PM (#33613804)
    Adding Afghanistan troops could cost $500000 per person - [] a few bullets, use your targets as food, (sorry 'fuel') and bob is your warlord. And people worry about the singularity... @ 300,000.00 it'll be just a factory away from running your own country. Imagine using a stream of these as a Denial Of Service attack on, ok nevermind, the future as the curse says, will be interesting, but not pleasant.
  • Robot Armies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dvinn ( 927610 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:35PM (#33614220)

    These already look about as capable as the droids in the Star Wars movie universe. Now they just need to be programmed to say 'roger roger.'

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:58PM (#33614512)

    I've been thinking robots would be a real problem starting in about 2020 based on current vision and manual dexterity systems progress.
    Discussing this elsewhere (and told I was too pessimistic), I came across the following information. []
    Soon, That Nearby Worker Might Be a Robot

    Online retailer employs more than 350 of the robots in three warehouses, and is adding "hundreds per month," says Executive Vice-President Scott Hilton. Retailer Crate & Barrel has purchased Kiva robots to be installed in its Tracy (Calif.) distribution center in July. One reason Crate & Barrel and decided to use Kiva robots is that the robots can work in the dark, reducing carbon emissions and saving money on air-conditioning and lighting. ...

    at El Camino Hospital in Silicon Valley, 19 robots fulfill a range of tasks, from delivering medication and food to taking out trash. ...

    Hiring as many humans ... would have cost the hospital more than $1 million a year, says Ken King, vice-pr.... Leasing the robots from Aethon costs $350,000 a year, which helps the hospital contain costs and offer patients affordable health care, he says.

    The Tug robots pull their weight, say hospital officials. Tugette, for example, rolls through El Camino Hospital's corridors making deliveries around the clock, opening doors, summoning elevators, and speaking politely with workers and patients.


    So let's see.

            * Two THIRDs cheaper than humans
            * Works 24 hours a day
            * Works in the dark
            * Doesn't require air conditioning
            * Some companies are employing "hundreds of them" with more on the way.
            * Replaces humans who go into the warehouse and get things and who stock shelves.
            * If you have any kind of SLA, it also basically never gets sick.

    And that's NOW. Right now. Already happening- not 10 years from now.

    It's going to be very difficult to adjust to this change in less than a generation- if it is even possible to adjust to it at all.

  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:17PM (#33614682) Homepage Journal
    Actually, if you are a little familiar with Japanese culture you'd notice that the robot does some moves that would be recognizable to Japanese as moves and stances from Noh, Kabuki, Kendo, and probably a few other cultural things, which are rather precise. I'm sure the robot was programmed step by step, but never the less, the moves were rather smooth & precise.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @12:47AM (#33617714) Homepage Journal

    I think the arrogance lies in thinking we'll start out replacing human tasks with a robot that is as versatile as a human. I just ran down all the automation we've already got, none of which is human in form, but all of which is the point from which incremental automation is on the verge of being robotic. The tasks I'm talking about doing with robots haven't been done for the several hundred million years of human evolution, and indeed mostly haven't been done, certainly not well, since humans stopped evolving as much as we instead change the environment to suit our genetics.

    So the baby steps are giving the clothes dryer arms to fold shirts, which aren't going to look much like human arms to work right, not replicating a human body to do it as clumsily as humans do. Even though humans can also do other things adequately to survive to reproduce, a separate body in very different form to do those things is beyond the realm of human evolution - except that we've evolved to make robots which don't look like us.

  • by pario ( 675744 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @01:26AM (#33617832)

    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)

    Well, I don't think our immigration policies are particularly racist. We generally don't want immigrants regardless of their race or country of origin, period. Our strict immigration policies are necessary, IMO, to maintain our cultural identity and unique cultural values, and most of us like it that way.

    If your country accepts immigrants from all over the world and take unfair advantage of their cheap labor under the hypocritical names of justice and freedom while they suffer tremendously from racism, that's fine with us. (I lived in the United States for 12 years and I know for a fact that racism against immigrants is rampant here.) But please, for Christ's sake, respect Japan's soverinty as an independent nation. You are being racist by calling us racist *just because* our values are different from yours.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling