Feeds

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

Furniture-smashing robot rampage blamed on Wi-Fi

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.