EMIEW 2 robot (Courtesy: Hitachi)
Hitatchi recently announced an upgrade to its EMIEW 2 robot to make it safer around the workplace. By using an improved mapping system and enhanced image detection technology the new robot will now mind its manners and avoid rolling into unsuspecting employees’ kneecaps..
Hitachi developed the EMIEW through the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization’s “Project for the Practical Application of Next-generation Robots.” The word EMIEW is actually an acronym for “Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate,” and that’s exactly what the robot was designed to be – a robot to support the everyday needs of office staff.
The EMIEW was built with some humanistic features, as well as decent mobility and movement control. The original workplace bot also recognizes sounds and distinguishes voices from up to three feet away. The updated robot, however, offers a few new bells and whistles to make the office experience with the EMIEW 2 a more pleasant one.
One of the new features of the upgraded EMIEW 2 is its ability to map an office space and note walkways or corners, where it may encounter people unexpectedly. The EMIEW 2 makes a note of these areas and travels more slowly through these intersections to reduce the risk of running into someone.
The new robot is 31-inches tall, weighs 30 pounds and can roll at about 4mph, the same speed as the average human walks. The new design and speed help the EMIEW 2 navigate the workplace more easily. The bot also sits on wheels, allowing for enhanced mobility and balance. Hitachi claims the updated robot is equipped with suspension that enables it to smoothly roll over uneven floor surfaces, cables and steep inclines without falling over.
EMIEW 2 (Courtesy: Hitachi)
Probably the most paramount upgrade on the EMIEW 2 is its internet capability. The bot can now connect to the internet to enhance its image detection system. If the EMIEW 2 is asked to fetch a box of black ballpoint pens, the bot can connect to the net, search objects that might fit that description, compare it to its existing database of image references, fetch the correct item (ideally) and navigate through the office halls to safely deliver the pens to the requester.
While the EMIEW 2 is not quite as advanced as iRobot’s AVA 500, the human-inspired bot does, in theory, provide a valuable service to an office – taking over mindless tasks. If there is a visitor in the office that needs to know where the restroom is located, EMIEW 2 is your go-to guide. If someone needs staples and various other office supplies, they can call on EMIEW 2 to fetch it. Whether or not this function is worth the unannounced price in a workplace is subjective, but consumers seem to be excited to dish out the cash for a similar robot to overtake the mindless tasks in their own homes.
Would it be worth the money for a personal robot that can do your bidding, clean the dishes and help you organize your closet? Well, that’s for you to decide, but how is it not cool?
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