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Mitsubishi Robot - Watchdog, Nurse, Annoying Friend 183

jomaree writes "The SMH Online reports that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have developed a robot (to run on Linux) with voice and face recognition capabilities. The robot would be able to connect to the Internet, contact you by e-mail or a mobile phone and, say, send you a message if it 'hears' a strange noise inside your home. It can also remember the side effects of medication. Reportedly, Mitsubishi claim that the robot 'will become a future house-sitter, caretaker, nurse and friend for the family'. Unfortunately the robot can also be programmed to ask 'You're home late. What have you been up to?' Don't we already have people for that?" The Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun has a story with pictures.
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Mitsubishi Robot - Watchdog, Nurse, Annoying Friend

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  • by aerojad ( 594561 ) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @04:25AM (#5229828) Homepage Journal
    Giving robots the ability to have face as well as voice recognition, inevitably I can see some sort of security system being done with robots such as these (only recognized people get through, others get... dealt with), and then if the robot can be put on the internet than the robot could be hacked. Forget identity theft, how would you like it if you came home one day and your robot wouldn't let you in the door because you "no longer lived there" (in other words, it doesn't recognize you), or worse yet lets someone else in because it is now programmed to accept that person as someone who lives at the house.

    To make a long story short, IMHO, I don't believe robot "house-sitters" are a good thing. I for one would never give up control of the security or well-being of my house to a walking, talking computer program.

    I just don't see the pros outweighing the cons here.
  • by A Rabid Tibetan Yak ( 525649 ) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @04:25AM (#5229830)
    Hmm, you think they might want to improve that a little before releasing it to the public.

    Of course, it depends on how long the recharge takes -- the robot wouldn't be much of a helper for the elderly if recharging takes another 2 hours, meaning the robot spends 50% of its time tied to the wall, but it wouldn't be so bad if it can recharge itself rapidly or perhaps even swap batteries somehow. Does anyone here know the average running time lengths for the current crop of personal robots?
  • Sounds Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anubi ( 640541 ) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @04:50AM (#5229918) Journal
    I think they are taking a step in the right direction... especially their choice of OS.

    If I see this right, it will be kinda like a computer with a lot of mobile interface built-in, so it could be programmed with things its creator never dreamed of, much as Linux is probably being programmed with things Linus never thought of.

    I can think already of a whole plethora of things I could program this beastie for.. like when I am under the car and I want it to look up a database and show me where some wire connects to. Or "staying awake", watching my surroundings, when I snooze off. Basically, I kinda see this as a self-propelled laptop which I never switch off... something coming with a lot of rudimentary intelligence for recognizing its environment, yet leaving itself open for any training I may want to give it. ( A closed-source box is absolutely useless in this regard - getting one of those would be about as useful as getting a tool that only does a specific thing - said specific thing most likely being something I have no need of.)

    I've seen the little robotic dog... cute! Nice toy. I've seen where people were able to program it to do all sorts of cute little tricks. Now, if they play their cards right and make this one completely open source, I think they will make one of those things that everyone will want. Even if you do not have the skills to program it yourself, there will be many people who do, and programs will circulate among the net. I think if they are smart, they will provide the hardware and enough software to demonstrate what can be done, then stand back and wait for the flood of orders to the factory.. as I think they may have trouble building them fast enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @06:45AM (#5230156)
    "I for one would never give up control of the security or well-being of my house to a walking, talking computer program."

    Do you have fire detectors? They aren't near as talented as the bot. You trust them with not only your house, but your life. Of course, detectors also don't broil cushions in the oven! Point is, we already trust machines in a lot of aspects. In a couple of years, I'll have a bot and I'll name her Rosey!

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.