Feeds

Hitachi 'collision avoidance' bot does a Ballmer at press do

Furniture-smashing robot rampage blamed on Wi-Fi

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Japanese industry colossus Hitachi yesterday unveiled a new robot boasting proprietary "agile collision avoidance" technology, only to see the cutting-edge droid crash violently into furniture in front of the world press.

AP reports that the diminutive 80cm robot, asked where someone was sitting, unexpectedly cried "I will take you there - follow me," in a "boylike electronic voice". The erratic machine then lurched away as though to pass between two desks, but "smashed into one of them".

Only a timely grab by a nearby Hitachi employee ended the orgy of mechanised violence, which could perhaps have reduced the room to matchwood and strewn the dismembered corpses of reporters and Hitachi boffins across the Tokyo subsurbs. However, the robot's minders were able to subdue the rogue machine by seizing special handles which had apparently (and rather worryingly) been mounted on it for just that purpose.

"We are studying what hurdles need to be overcome to make robots practical," said Hitachi researcher Takashi Teramoto, quoted by AFP.

"One characteristic we feel we need to ensure for robots is safety."

The machine in question is known as EMIEW, for Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate. This one was the mark 2, which has apparently been modified for greater safety than the original EMIEW, featured in this YouTube vid:

EMIEW boasts "interactive communication", "high speed mobility" and "agile collision avoidance", according to this pdf from Hitachi (page 11) so it seems that the desk destruction attempt must have been deliberate.

The Hitachi guys said the furniture-smashing robotic rampage had been triggered by heavy Wi-Fi traffic. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.