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WALL-E spaceliner smart hoverchairs debut in Japan

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Japanese robot boffins - that is, human roboticists - have created a smart air-cushion hoverchair in remarkable WALL-E fashion. The chair's makers are touting it initially for use by the elderly, rather than the intergalactically indolent.

CNET reports that the chair, developed by the Osaka Robot Lab, features a sportscar-style bucket seat mounted on a platform suspended on a cushion of air in similar style to normal hovercraft.

The Robot Lab themselves confirm that they are working on next-generation powered hospital chairs able to move disabled or differently-youthful patients about without the need for assistance from medical staff, so saving on manpower. The robotic smart-chairs could navigate around a hospital or residential facility by following special magnetic tapes laid on the floor, taking their passenger to a given destination within the complex without user input.

Special powered smartchairs - though of wheeled rather than hover design for now - are said to be lightweight enough that "even a woman" can easily load or unload the wheelchair to or from a vehicle.

Those who have seen WALL-E will recall that the human race, having fled its junk-littered mother planet aboard an enormous luxury spaceliner, initially introduces smart hoverchairs for just such laudable purposes. Pretty soon, however, everyone is using them - becoming cripplingly obese as a result.

Only the love of one tiny garbage robot for an interplanetary reconnaissance droid, and the determination of the swingbellied spaceliner captain to vanquish his bossy autopilot robot, enables humanity to break its silken bonds and return to a noble life (as farmers!) on a rejuvenated Earth.

Strange days. Etc. ®

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