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Toys

Fujitsu To Ship Linux Powered Robot in July 135

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the bop-whirr-zoop dept.
Radical Rad writes "The Register is reporting that Fujitsu will be shipping a consumer robot in July called HOAP for Humanoid Open Architecture Platform and it will be running a real-time version of Linux. They plan to release info on the controls system to make it possible to program using C/C++. The 7 kg robot is wired with USB and can have an optional 802.11b transceiver." This thing could be a lot of fun to program and send around the house.
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Fujitsu To Ship Linux Powered Robot in July

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:38AM (#5622469) Homepage Journal
    Do they have a custom Linux distribution for this robot? I have a great name for this! HOAX
    • DAAV0 (daav0@aol.com) wrote:
      : thie3e3 mijitz hayufv awul gann

      Gone and all but forgotten!

      : ownlee I, daddyo, remain--to deue bad tel wiyiuth thiee efil woneill.

      And based on past battles, you couldn't fight your way out of a midget packing box sans styrofoam peanuts!

      --

      Bill O'Neill (woneill@pobox.com)
      Toynbee ideas in Kubrik's 2001
      http://www.pobox.com/~woneill Resurrect dead on planet Jupiter

    • I have a great name for this! HOAX

      Indeed. Just look at the calendar...

  • Willy Wonka (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Only Druid (587299) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:41AM (#5622481)
    Maybe its me, but every time I see one of these pint-sized robots demonstrated or released, my first impulse is to sing an Oompa-Loompa song in my head. I just picture a crowd of these, milling around my house taking care of random tasks, and singing moral lessons to all my visitors.

    Then again, I do wear a purple top hat.
  • by Squidgee (565373) <squidgeeOO1@hotmaiELIOTl.com minus poet> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:41AM (#5622482)
    I can't imagine what will happen to this poor robot once Hackers get their hands on it..

    I can see Butler Bots appearing. Maybe an aftermarket for "Robot Modules", sort of like software now? Could be fun!

    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xigxag (167441)
      I wonder whether Fujitsu would be held liable if someone programmed one of these robots to kill somebody. I could see it argued in court that by using Linux, they made it "too easy" for any psychopath "hacker" or script kiddy to turn their toy into a dangerous weapon.
      • By installing Microsoft on it the bot becomes dangerous even without any hackers. Now imagine if any hackers will get their hands on Microsoft based bot!

        Speaking about Linux, the bot will have specially customized Linux - rootless Linux. Hackers are seeking for root. No root - no hackers. Simple.

        • FYI -- Hackers are peopel who tinker, and make better. Your thinking of crackers, who break things and are in general bad. Linux is made by hackers. Money is stolen by crackers.
          • All right, with your correction:

            San Francisco, 2004. The city, as well as all Bay Area, is full of robots, built and driven by hackers, to find crackers who is trying to take over the bots' control. All citizens forgot about president elections because they are devided onto two big groups: hackers, who build and drive bots, and crackers, who crack the code, steal the bot and fight back. The rest of citizens had to flee into villages all over the California and Nevada. The police has been neutralized at fi

      • Just as knife makers should be held liable if someone uses a knife to kill someone else. After all , it's too easy for a "hacker" (pun not intended, of course) to get a hold of a knife and turn this average kitchen utensil in to a weapon.

        Potentially, anything could be a weapon... should society hold the makers of any household object accountable if someone decides to make it their weapon of chocie? I think we'd soon see nearly every product imagineable disappear if that were the case.
        • I happen to agree with you, but in court the arguement could be made that the "reasonable" man understands that knives are a dangerous weapon and so ought to treat them with care, but it's not "reasonable" to think that a toy/hobby robot will be used as a murder weapon. Hence the manufacturer ought to be held liable for negligently allowing this hazardous object to be misused by the public.

          At the very least, it would probably need to come with multiple warnings. For example, right now I'm staring at a ca
  • Tethered? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hayzeus (596826) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:43AM (#5622490) Homepage
    My understanding was that this robot (actually the HOAP-2, a sucessor to the HOAP-1) was to be tethered for both power and datacomm to a remote computer running linux. If this is the case, don't expect it to be wandering too far.

    Note that the HOAP-1 ran about $48,000.00USD; unless the price drops significanty, it'll probably not be your next tech toy.

    More info and video (in Japanese) from Fujitsu here [fujitsu.com].

  • by Toasty16 (586358) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:44AM (#5622491) Homepage
    ...the Three Laws of Robotics:

    A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    • I don't think it's in danger of being in a sitution where "through inaction, [it would] allow a human being to come to harm" quite yet.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:11PM (#5622613)
      It better not. I don't want my $60,000 investment thinking its a superhero because of law number one.

      Screw law number two. If I want it to poke you in the eye with a stick it should.

      We can change law number three to, "Do your master's bidding, and try not to break yourself. If you can, beat up other robots for parts. Your master isn't the richest man in the world and you're moving out when you turn 18!"
    • After consulting with Organization for Robot Rights, the famous Three Laws of Robotics must sound:

      1. A robot may not injure any living being, including humans, animals and other robots, or, through inaction, allow any living being to come to harm.

      2. A robot must obey the orders given it by strictly authorized (ID must be preprogrammed) living beings by except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

      3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with

    • And for those who think bigger: The Zeroth Law: A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow a humanity to come to harm.
    • You should read the new robot novels, authorized by Asimovs estate. Caliban is an interestign read, to sum it up, a new gravitronic brain is built that doesn't have the 3 laws, after that its pretty much frankenstein with a robot. Still an interesting read and a good exploration fo the 3 laws.
    • ..the Three Laws of Robotics: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
      A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
      A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

      I realize that it's a sci-fi reference, but just for discussion purposes, I can't imagine how these laws would be implemented. Not that I'm well read i

    • You forgot the Zeroith Law of Robotics 0. A robot must not harm humanity, or through inaction cause humanity to come to harm. Without that we'd have robot butlers protecting murderers and such, it's a very real danger :).
    • Rather than the Asimovian laws, I prefer the simpler Moody John Wayne Robot Law:

      "Follow my orders or I'll beat the bolts outta ya!"
  • Hacking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eenglish_ca (662371)
    Wouldn't it be funny if you had set this up on your network from which you could command it to then do the housework, then someone hax0rs you and uses it to rob you in the middle of the night. That would be hilarious.
    • I personally cant wait to hear the reaction of the RSPCA when you tell them your hacking your pet to see if you can make it run faster.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...that I'm going to program it to empty my modified bedpan that attaches to my computer chair so I'll never miss an item in Everquest again!
  • price? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bumby (589283) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:45AM (#5622498)
    "This thing could be a lot of fun to program and send around the house."

    Sure could, but I don't want to see the price-sticker.

    Actually I don't think the ideal helper-bots are humanoids. I beleave specialdesigned bots will do better. One bot does one thing, and does it good ;) e.g. open the door, clean floor, etc.
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:46AM (#5622506) Homepage Journal
    nobody needs a limpy robot.
  • FYI... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Squidgee (565373) <squidgeeOO1@hotmaiELIOTl.com minus poet> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:47AM (#5622507)
    Sony has released a humanoid robot as well:

    The SDR-4X II [theregister.co.uk]. While it's not as customizable (And therefore I'd rather have the other one), it looks like it could be fun as well.

    • Um, the Fujitsu sports a Pentium III 700MHz and as far as I can see a single camera.

      The SDR-4X II sports 3 64bit RISC processors each with 64Mb RAM (The previous SDR-4X had only two). Two cameras for stereoscopic vision. And from the presentation I've seen, the vision software is quite impressive.

      > While it's not as customizable

      Not as customisable? Are you refering to the add-on WLAN? The SDR-4X II has a Memory Stick slot (it's a Sony :) ). You can add a tremendiously expensive Bluetooth or WLAN Memo
  • I hope they have ckhrootkit [chkrootkit.org] run via cron.daily... I'd hate to see what a rooted robot could do.

    Oh, and imagine a beowulf cluster of these.
  • by Cheeze (12756) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:48AM (#5622522) Homepage
    i know if i were a robber, and i saw a robot coming after me, i would flip out and find the quickest exit.

    it wouldn't be that hard to develop either, just setup a keyword that would stop the robot, and only give that to people that are supposed to be in the house. you don't even have to teach the robot to attack, just to chase after, make noise, and flash some lights if it detects motion. all you need is a cheap camera, motion detection software, and some voice recognition software. I think most of that stuff is already developed.
    • Done before (in fiction) - Robocop :)
    • If i were a robber and saw a robot coming after me i would scoop it up and sell it on the black market..

      more worth it then your stereo i think..

      Off course.. i first must find a way to get into your house without exhausting myself... you try and heave 150kg over a gardenwall... and with my fingers picking a lock is not an alternative either... let's not even talk about who would win when i have to run away... :-)
  • by manseman (582150) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:51AM (#5622533)
    This is good news for companies and institutions that consider switching their desktops to Linux.
    The robot would visit each room in the office, tell the occupant that it's about to switch his os, and then plug itself in the computer and start uploading Linux. After the upload is complete the robot could stick around to answer questions and teach the use of Linux.
    • Oh my god! Its already happened! And I'm a robot! Noooooooo!!!!
    • And, at the same time, it could use its giant clue-bat on those PhB that absolutely want to stick to their windows...
    • visit each room in the office, tell the occupant that it's about to switch his os, and then plug itself in the computer and start uploading Linux. After the upload is complete the robot could stick around to answer questions and teach the use of Linux.

      Windows version: "Would like some help with that task? (wink wink)"

      User: "Shut up!" (and bends Clippy into a pretzel shape)

      Hey, at least finally there would be something *physical* to punch about Clippy. Now I am actually warming up to the idea. I could
  • Why humanoid design? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by foofboy (7823) <robert.sherwood@gmai l . c om> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @11:51AM (#5622534) Homepage
    Isn't there a better way to build a body than upright, two limbs for perambulation, two for manipulation. I mean, our species is sort of stuck with the design. But would it be easier to design something more like an arthropod.

    Is the idea that it's be easier to relate to a bipedal critter? Is it easier to program a two legged thing? I'd've thought the balance problems alone would make it much harder to create a humanoid robot.

    Any MIT calibre eggheads want to weigh in?
    • Isn't there a better way

      Yes, check out some of the OOPIC [oopic.com] projects.
    • Well, nature took a few million years to come up with this design, and it's actually a pretty good one. Also, all those household appliances (and the houses themselve) are made with the appropiate interfaces.
      • Well, nature took a few million years to come up with this design, and it's actually a pretty good one.

        It's pretty good, but nature didn't open source the perception/actuation software. Problems like "walking" are still difficult, especially if you have to worry about stairs, uneven terrain, varying surface conditions, local obstacles, etc. The point of the first poster is that you can avoid most of these problems upfront by choosing a cleverer form factor.

      • Nature designs things for survival, not human utility.

        Aircraft don't flap their wings because that design is spectaculalry difficult to implement (not to mention poorly suited for the task of transporting large payloads).
    • Because a bipedal robot with two arms can manipulate its environment in exactly the same way as we do (once the programming catches up). You won't need to have a specilist robot for specific tasks. If a human can do it, then theres no theoretical reason a robot can't do it either. See Data on TNG :)
    • It doesn't take an MIT egghead to realize that we want our robot girlfriends to look somewhat human, not like bugs. Sheesh.
    • At least of the examples we have of land-based creatures, the bipedal form seems to be the most useful in a wide range of situations. Primates are ideally suited (in form alone) only to very forgiving environments, though intelligence comes from our big complicated brain, which is part of the human package in particular. Without intelligence (other primates exhibit loads of it as well of course) this form is pretty lousy.

      For example, our bodies are good enough to let us do crazy things like mountain climb

    • THIS IS A TOY!

      It uses a humanoid design because more humans are willing to spend large quantities of money for something that looks humanoid.

      There are very few (if any) tasks for which a humanoid robot is a more effective design, except for those tasks in which the robot is expected to interact with humans.
  • Is there any other Open Source Kernel that can be used in embeded applications instead of Linux ?
    If so what advantages does linux offer over such kernel ? Secondly how exactly is it important to use an Open Source platform in an embeded device both from manifacturer's and consumer's POV ?
  • HOAP? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Shouldn't that be GNU/Robbie?
  • A robot running a version of Linux? My robot runs on Windows and continually tries to commit suicide.

  • "BeeHive" Clustering (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    With the current war in Iraq it would be interesting to see a platoon of these mapping out supected landmine areas with 802.11 communications and GPS mapping.
    Also, could you get a collective to build research and explorative stations on remote planets for preperations of manned trips to say...mars?
    • ...it would be interesting to see a platoon of these mapping out supected landmine areas...
      Sound like Lemmings!!! Woo hoo! :) That should be a fun game: Lemmings X: Incursion into Iraq.
  • by JonWan (456212)
    I'll program it to be Bender.

    It will sit around all day watching soap operas and say, "Bite my shiney metal ass, meatbag"
  • from the bop-whirr-zoop dept.

    That should read:

    from the bah-weep-granah-weep-ninni-bong dept.

  • what would happen if you overclocked him :)
    • Probarly nothing. Computer programs that are using a timer to control delays generally appear the same under any clockspeed (well, potentially a bit slower on very low speeds). and since most of the software written after 1992 are relaying on this technique it is most likely that so will this robot.
  • Three short mpegs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PukkaStoryTeller (661614) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:08PM (#5622604)
    Three short mpegs of this strange thing. http://www.automation.fujitsu.com/products/product s092.html [fujitsu.com] (click on the screenshots)
  • by Eudial (590661)
    The first robot ever who is able to segfault!
  • Did we learn nothing from the Animatrix?

  • This seems like an intresting robot...is it the first comercial robot to run on Linux? At least they won't charge extra for the properitary OS..or maybe they will...
  • If we could just get one inside a real doll [realdoll.com].
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:21PM (#5622645)
    I really liked the look of the new toshiba robot [toshiba.co.jp], it looks like it can do more than interact with a doll house, which seems to be the design criteria behind these tiny humanoid bots.

    802.11, LCD screen, and voice recognition could make it a very cool extension of your PC. It can find you, show (or read) your email, let you send replies via voice, etc. If your PC is connected to your entertainment system if could be a rolling video jukebox. Have it display your divx collection and send a signal to the PC to play the video on the TV.

    There's a lot a "PC on wheels" can do now with 802.11b and broadband. I think the "ethernet everwhere" crowd would be better served by a central and movable programmable device than putting an ethernet card in the fridge and in the toaster.

    A real usable robot will not look like a man, it will look like an appliance. Preferably with a cup holder and magazine rack. Oh, and a vaccum attachment would be nice too.

    When these bots are able to do something other than be bots for the sake of being bots then we'll be seeing some real innovation.
  • Using a bot for a case would be sweet. I can just picture my next system walking into the LAN, carrying my monitor, setting itself up, and plugging itself into the hub. FragBot....
  • I don't know whether this is a good idea... fill a robot's head with a bunch of free (as in speech) software, and who knows what kind of ideas it's likely to get. I mean, freedom is all well and good, but this could screw up the whole obedient robot slave thing before it gets started.
  • The Register and The Inquirer have fought for our attention in the last couple of years. And I think this Inquirer's story [theinquirer.net] beated the Register's one, at least because it was published one day earlier. And also because it didn't mention Linux, which is not really the engine behind the robot, but it tallks about neural networks software, which is the real tool used to train the robot.

  • Let's see, it's got a Intel Pentium 3 processor, USB 1.1 ports and runs linux. Is it safe to say that this robot is actually powered by a $200 Xbox?

    If not, let's find a way and submit it to /. soon.
  • This is good news, Fujitsu is taking the right approach and attitude unlike SONY, when a group of programmers tried to publish the inner-workings of Abio only to be greeted by a dreadful letter [slashdot.org] from SONY's lawyers.
  • 1. Can they operate laser rifles?

    2. Can they repair each other?

  • Why oh why did I have to sign up for all those damn vb/basic classes...
  • Humanoid? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Subcarrier (262294)
    Oh well. I guess I can always stuff it in a penguin suit.

  • for when the metal one decides to come for you?

    And he will.

    xox,
    Dead Nancy
  • Imagine a beowulf cluster of these. No really, picture it in your head. Now someone just has to write a perl script to make the robots dance the macarena. Picture 100 humanoid robots doing the macarena in perfect unison... actually don't. It's quite creepy and just imagine the horrors if the script ran into an infinite loop.
  • i know ships running winNT which need reboots very often, i can understand that this is news
  • They plan to release info on the controls system to make it possible to program using C/C++.

    Great... One little buffer overflow exploit and the damn thing switches to DESTROY ALL HUMANS mode... ;-)
  • Forget Linux, can we get them running Be(nder)OS? If I'm going to have a robot pal, I at least want it to share a beer with me rather than be a cringing Asimovian wimp?
  • The robot runs Real-time Linux!

    Is there a turn-based version of Linux? I have not read about that distro. Must be a rather extensive mod, since I thought the Linux kernel was real-time.

    I prefer turn-based strategy games over real-time strategy games, because I play for the thinking not the clicking. But I prefer my OS to keep working when I'm not watching. I thought all non-MS operating systems were real-time. The last turn-based OS I used was MS-DOS. Even Windows simulates real-time as long as you
    • A real-time OS is one that can reliably respond to external events within a specified upper time limit. For serious real-time OSs (QNX, VxWorks), that limit is down in the tens to hundreds of microseconds. UNIX, and Linux, are notorious for long interrupt lockouts, which kills response time. Recently, efforts to fix the longer interrupt lockouts in Linux have been reasonably successful, and some Linux systems can now respond in a millisecond or two, most of the time.

      There are a few "real time" versions

  • How sinister would that be. You could train them to use weapons, and create your very own personal platoon of killer robots, operating as an integrated tactical system. Just imagine...

    while (!SUCCESS) SUCCESS=kill("Annoying Neighbour");

    An appropriate bot would be assigned to the task, with the others laying down fire support. Bwahahahaha. I wonder if they do bulk discounts?

  • It seems there are four basic ways to hook the brains up to the robot body:

    1. Computer tethered to robot

    Pros: Full bandwidth, can use your existing desktop PC

    Cons: Limited range, tangling risk

    2. Radio or Infrared connection

    Pros: No cables

    Cons: Limited bandwidth and/or distance

    3. Laptop put in/on robot

    (Evolution Robotics in Pasadena, CA has this design)

    Pros: No cables nor radio links, can use your existing laptop

    Cons: Laptops are often not as fast as desktop PC's

    4. CPU in robot

    Pros: No cables nor
  • A wireless transceiver...usb ports...

    Imagine the laughs when you hack your buddy's robot to have Terets Syndrome kick up the least opportune moment.

    Loan Officer: "Well Mr. Geek, everything seems to be in order for this Home Loan, congrats!"

    Robot: "EAT SHIT FUCKFACE FLEE COUNTRY NOW COCKWEASEL FUCK MONEY FUCK"

    Loan Officer: ::Shredder::

    Mr. Geek: ::Mouth still resting on floor::

  • 1. does it play Ogg?

    2. can i get it to run LegOS [www.noga.de]?

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