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Fujitsu Releases Specs For Hackable Robot 166

S. Allen writes: "According to this article, Fujitsu will release the specifications to their RT-Linux based humanoid robot next week to encourage development and research. The article states, 'The software used to program Hoap-1 will run on RT-Linux -- a version of the open-source operating system that is designed for robotic applications, as well as data acquisition and systems control functions. Simulation software will let users test their code before letting it loose on Hoap-1'"
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Fujitsu Releases Specs For Hackable Robot

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  • This is great!!! I've been trying for months to make the tape backup machines robot arm attack people!!! Now I can get a full robot thats meant to be hacked. :)
  • by oingoboingo ( 179159 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @10:52PM (#2312818)
    So instead of a bluescreen or a kernel panic message, this thing will just flail its arms about yelling "Danger Will Robinson"?
  • Some more links... (Score:3, Informative)

    by neema ( 170845 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @10:57PM (#2312841) Homepage
    Check out this [] link for more info. This [] one is from MIT (quite a bit old, but it's still interesting read). And then of course there is the Humanoid Project [].
  • Simulation software will let users test their code before letting it loose on Hoap-1.

    Let's hope it's good stuff. How stupid would you feel being strangled by a rogue bot?
  • 28,000 pounds? You could by enough Aibo's to have your own football team of them.

    Still, maybe that's a bargin to robotics researchers, would-be world dictators and the robot-porn industry. I think it's priced well beyond the reach of most OS developers.

    Of course, it would make a great entry for BattleBots.

  • All you need to do is combine that robot with this thing [], and you'll never need a real girlfriend again!
  • nothing special (Score:2, Informative)

    by bagel ( 78837 )
    It may be "the world's first attempt to sell a humanoid robot that users can program freely", but it surely is not the first robot that users can program freely. Researchers at universities want robots that have all/most of the hardware or software specs open. Like data sheets of electronic parts and source code of control software. And this has been the case for a long time. For example, these research robots [] have always been freely programmable.
  • A picture of the Fujitsu Robot> [] Anyone got any better links than the one paragraph ones?? I did notice that Rodney Brooks [] is a Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. I wonder how much of COG is in the new robot??
  • ikkle (Score:3, Funny)

    by superpeach ( 110218 ) <(ten.xunilku.akins) (ta) (fmada)> on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:06PM (#2312877) Homepage
    48cm?! How am I going to get it to reach the stuff at the top of the fridge? Does it come with go-go-gadget legs/arms?
    • You don't need to: beer low, vegetables high.
    • why not program a climbing mode or even a jumping mode of some type(include a trampoline or something). If a 4 year old can figure out how to climb 6 feet to get a cookie, you can probably program a robot to do it...
      • I dunno... A 4 year old is far more complicated than any robot so far conceived. Just acheiving the capabilities of the child's opposable thumbs and dexterity is a daunting task. I can't imagine how difficult it might be to get one to climb without a special climbing surface for it to attatch to.
  • Although 28K (pounds) seems expensive for the average citizen, Fujitsu may have an un-tapped market in the city of Chicago if only the robot can be programmed to walk into a polling place and (punch 10) aka vote for Mayor Daley on election day.

    The city would no dought buy 1000's ..... it really is a much more elegant method than having dead people vote
    • The pope, the president, and Mayor Daley are stuck in a liferaft after their cruise ship sunk. Water's coming in fast, and therey decide that there's only room for one person in this tiny craft.

      The President says, "Well, I'm the leader of the free world, I should stay in the boat."

      The pope says, "I am a religious icon for 1 billion people, I should stay in the boat!"

      "Guys, guys" Daley pipes up, "Let's do this democratically! We'll all write a name of who should stay, and put it in my hat. Whoever gets the most votes, gets to stay in the boat."

      The votes were cast, the results tallies, and Mayor Daley won by 97 votes.
    • can you provide some links on this ballot stuffing story pls...
  • these go very well together don't you think?

    I want Linux used in business and science applications, but not when a firm is likely to restrict the most media-genic and lucrative uses, such as this robot, to a closed Linux.

    This will popularize Linux, but the visibility, and the profits, will go to a particular group of Linux developers who tend to stand apart from the rest of the community.

    In other words, the nerds who fall in love with this robot will also drift further away from the open Linux cultures; any use RTLinux gets is an attack on the open Linux culture.

    • That's such a fucking gay opinion. First off you're detracting cool factor because of licensing qualms that weren't really licensing qualms because RTLinux and the FSF worked out the problem. For fuck sake, Fujitsu said "hey lets let other dudes build a robot based on the design we already worked out!" That's pretty fucking open source. Attack on open Linux culture? You will never ever get laid.
      • Look little man. Patents are bad, mmmkay? It's like, when patents and GPL are combined, you sort of FORCE people to either use free software or pay royalties, mmmkay? This is not the free world I want to live in, mmmkay? Some open source programmers like to have their own license, mmmkay? And maybe they'd like to create their own RT-Linux, mmmkay? Lastly, whoever have FSF or any organization think for them, is a sheep, mmmkay?

        Mmmkay! :-)

        - Steeltoe
    • According to this [] [] article, the GPL-problem has been resolved and according to this comment to that article [] this means the patent in question can now be used in all free software freely.
  • Smithers... release the robotic Richard Simmons!
  • Umass videos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:10PM (#2312897) Homepage
    U-Mass has a cool collections of Robot videos here from their Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics: ml [] -- a must see for those interested in robotics.
  • here []. Postercomment compression filter? WTF?
    • Isn't that Windows on the laptop in that pic?

      Not that it matters anyway, but you think that they'd show an actual setup, and not a cute marketing picture.
  • Just wondering if a virus was writen that made a robot freak out and kill someone if the owner of the robot would be responsible. If you so, if your desktop computer is infected and involved in a DOS or something like it, and cause damages are you responsible under the same logic.

    Just a passing brain cramp, but it should be interesting to think about.

  • 28K(ukp/stirling) sounds a lot at first, compared to the market value of robot dogs these days it's well on the pricy side for a toy. But once it starts doing some thing useful it will start to take away low end jobs, cleaning the rest rooms, making shoes for Nike and other things that children could be doing and earning the princely sum of 50cents a month.

    Of course we know that childern provide a better value work force than robots, but what about those pesky adults, in the western world it won't be hard to cut expences....

    I used to love the idea of making a bipod robot when I was younger, now I they seem scarey... are we making suicide bombers for the west? I'm going to stop now...

  • by none2222 ( 161746 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:56PM (#2312995)
    Let me get this straight--they admit that their robot is hackable PLUS they're releasing the specs? I don't get. Won't the specs just make it easier to hack? Personally, I favor security, even if it happens to be security through obscurity.

    I don't know that I'd want to buy a robot if I knew hackers could take control of it. The consequences of hackers infiltrating a robot could range from the merely annoying to the catastrophic (especially if the robot in question is equipped with a rotary saw, a la BattleBots).

    As well, has anybody assessed the national security risks associated with hackable robots, in light of the recent terror attacks?

    • Firstly, a improperly secured webserver can do a lot of damage. It is up to the individual to see that it is secure.
      Secondly hackable means that they're going to let you get into the guts of it, the programming, the hardware. This is a good thing for a number of reasons: cutting training costs, improvement, and flexibility to name a few.
      Thirdly, in its present form, it is merely an expensive toy. It is not going to be used in production in General Motors, and is really too small to do any damage. It will probably end up in some university lab hooked to a Java front end that you can control through your browser.
      Lastly, in order to have it cause any real damage, you would have to break into the controlling computer, and send it your own commands. This could take a while, and the first time the robot appears to be moving on its own, you just unplug it. If it were my machine and my robot, I wouldn't have it hooked to the web. It would be too expensive for someone to walk it off my desk or down the stairs.

      Open source and hackable is merely a term used to say "We're not going to tell you how to play with it". It means they want you to pull it apart, change it, make it do things that they never even thought of, and most importantly, learn from it! You are not going to see an army of these things patrolling the street, killing everything in its path. And even if the absurd does happen, get out your golf clubs and have a blast.
    • Let's try this one again with the magic of substitution:

      1. Let me get this straight--they admit that their
      2. COMPUTER is hackable PLUS they're releasing the specs? I don't get. Won't the specs just make it easier to hack? Personally, I favor security, even if it happens to be security through obscurity.

        I don't know that I'd want to buy a COMPUTER if I knew hackers could take control of it. The consequences of hackers infiltrating a COMPUTER could range from the merely annoying to the catastrophic.

        As well, has anybody assessed the national security risks associated with hackable COMPUTERS, in light of the recent terror attacks?

      I sincerely hope this was a troll.
      • Let's try this again, with the magic of reality:

        1) Hackable == Customizable, Hackable != Secure
        2) Robot cannot control plane, USB cord not long enough
        3) You don't have to buy it
        4) Webservers don't crash planes, Control Towers are extremely difficult to hack (I don't think it's ever been reported, not sure how much the systems are tied together, and pilot still has final say over where he's going to put the plane)
        5) The thing's just over a foot tall!
    • Wait a moment here people, moderators: "put down those mod points".

      This reply is dripping with sarcasm, insightfull +1... go back and read this again... funny +1...definitely...

    • Your tag line says to reply instead of moderating. Your an idiot.

      Hacking means playing with, not subversing. You must be a reporter to have gotten it soo wrong.

  • more info (Score:3, Informative)

    by MbM ( 7065 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2001 @12:19AM (#2313056) Homepage
    the fujitsu site has abit more info and a picture []
  • More info wanted. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brad3378 ( 155304 )
    I've been looking for something similar to this as a starting point for a fun project I've been working on.
    It's a CD changer for a CD burner. [] (My sincere appoligies for slashdotting their webserver.)

    My original goal was to create a cheap robot that:

    can lift a fresh CD using suction cups (not shown in picture)

    use eject & eject -t commands to open & close CD tray

    burn CD via shell script

    when finished, switch CDs and start all over

    drive mechanism using cheap rotating threaded rod (worm drive)

    wooden frame (cheap & easy to build)

    use Jeremy Elson's Parapin [] program to control the device via parallel port

    goal 1 - make it cheaper than $50 to build. using easy to find parts

    goal 2 - make it easy for others to build.

    The ultimate hack would be to combine it with a MP3 database, napster, perl script,and wget to download and burn the billboard top 40 (or similar concept)

    A project like this is not meant to be practical.
    Just something fun that hasn't been done before. Yes, I have seen a similar lego robot that works with a home audio system, but it only had about 7 disks available, it looked like a tough mechanism to integrate with a Computer tower, and the basic lego mindstorms sets sell for about $200.00

    Comments/suggestions/related links welcome and strongly encouraged.

  • I post the news last time as soon as LinuxDevices [] has news [] on this and got rejected.

    Now zdnet featuring this old news and got spotlighted? What's up with you editors?

    So it isn't a worthy news until your Greatest ZDNet featuring it?

    Mod me down if you like, you ZDNet dude.
  • I noticed some Insecto Bots in a local KB Toys this week. I know B.I.O. Bugs aren't slated to hit stores until 9/30/01, but does anyone have any opinions on them? Does anyone own an Insecto Bot yet?

    Any chance either toy might be nifty for more than 15 minutes (unlike the Furby we all bought after that article in Wired before its release)?
  • Quick!
    Go to Freshmeat []
    Read the names of the first two projects. What are the odds?
    Maybe it'll be a little further down, but you'll know the ones I mean.
    • Maybe we should combine the two projects to have it catalog the news articles it brings down.

      I can see the -1 hovering, go ahead...
    • suck 4.3.0
      by Bob Yetman - Monday, September 17th 2001 21:06 EDT

      Category: Communications :: Usenet News

      About: suck is used to grab news from a remote NNTP news server and bring it to your local machine (without using the NEWNEWS command). It is designed for a small, partial news feed.

      Changes: New SSL and -bP options.

      License: Public Domain - Release focus: Minor feature enhancements

      dic 0.6
      by Ákos Putz - Monday, September 17th 2001 21:06 EDT

      Category: System :: Archiving

      About: dic is a simple, console-based disk catalogizer. It can easily add disks to the catalog, search in the catalog, list the files on a disk, search for files, automatically retrieve found files without requiring you to manually navigate through the source media, and more.

      Changes: A much faster substring search mode, new user-defined filters for extracting useful (searchable) information from files while adding disks, and a new Debian package.

      License: GNU General Public License (GPL) - Release focus: Major feature enhancements

  • I was searching for mainly pictures, and i found the following: [] - a generic article with a picture. Discusses specs.

    It looks like it will be rather expensive, they have set the price to "open" with a sales expectation of 100 over three years. It has 20 degrees of movement. It uses RTLinux(like the other article mentioned) and uses USB to act as the "Direct Interface and Robot's Internal Network." also, it mentions that HOAP-1 stands for Humanoid for Open Architecture Platform

    Imagine - a small army. A cluster if you will. wouldn't that be "wyrd" :)
  • Robots today are like computers were yesterday... We are underestimating their use and capability.

    We just haven't figured out what to do with them yet.
    • Robots today are like computers were yesterday... We are underestimating their use and capability.
      We just haven't figured out what to do with them yet.

      You mean we've figured out what to do with computers? Like Windows, Solitaire and stuff?

  • These things better have the three laws of robotics built into the software. They go a little like this.

    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 can see a few scientists overlooking this little ruleset and losing some limbs to Fujitsubot 2001.
    • As Isaac Asimov spent his career demonstrating in his books, there would be plenty of ways to end up with problems in spite of, or because of, those rules...

      Besides, the laws where suggested for robots that were semi-autonomous thanks to artificial intelligence. We're not anywhere near that yet.

  • Software is the key (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Codeala ( 235477 )
    The reason it is (relatively) cheap, hackable is probably because they are looking for good software to run future robots. For example someone may work out a good algorithm that combine robotic vision and motor control to make some kind of rescue bot that can crawl into small places. Or work out a way for a robot to be able to right itself if it falls down.

    I bet their idea is to have generic robots that can do many different tasks base solely on the software; rather than spending lots of money building very specialized robots that can only do one or two things. Actually this is just like real human! We are more or less the same physically, but we are trained to do many different tasks without growing extra arms or eyes.

    So if you work in an university with a good size robotic research group you can probably convince them to send one to you for free :-)

  • Maybe I'm missing something obvious but, I'd like to see what this device looks like.

  • I've seen these books at my local bookstore: And it comes with a kit (attached to the book) that includes the nitinol [] wires that act as the muscles. You'll have your own creepy crawly insect-bots running in no time...
    • As much as I enjoyed building it, the main problem with the Stiquito is that it doesn't come with a processor/controller of any kind and finding one small enough to fit the body was more than I could handle. (I'm a software person not a hardware person)

      By the way, when I bought my book there was only one on the market, so I don't know how the've improved over the past couple of years.

  • This is a very cool robot, but the price is rather high, is the $40000 range. It is mostly geared to colleges :-(
  • As the press release [] says they are targeting to sell 100 robots over a span of three years.

    Who is going to have the means to purchase these? labs, schools, corporations. not you and me brotha...
  • I knew what the net was going to look like in 1990, and ruined 10 good years of social life trying to make the first MMORPG... My other two ideas for money was Instant messages or an auction site.

    Now we're REALLY close to AI. About 100,000 man hours away. Or less if we use already known components.

    Just 2 things are needed: 3d robotic imagination, and sensory devices to interpret the world.

    If the robot can understand the world, then it can use a game playing algorithm to make the best method of achieving a goal via subgoals....

    And for natural language understanding, just picture old school Zork. If it doesn't understand what you're saying, it will either guess in context, or ask you flat out what you mean.

    Then you finally can get computers to read books etc. The difference between a robot and a human are the top level goals. Humans are controlled by pleasure and pain chemicals: drugs, learning, sweets, sex, moving, sports. Robots will need the top level goals given by humans, so robots can be used as slaves. "Hey robot go shovel the snow out of my driveway."

    More crap about this at:

    I can TOTALLY code this from start to finish, but it would take me like 20 years. If someone gave me a 3d engine, I could probably get it done in 5-10... But if I had smart people working with me, its no more than a 2 year task.
  • Is there a web site for this thing?

    I think it's great, but we need more info.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"