The Readybot project aims to construct a general-purpose mobile robot capable of cleaning the kitchen. Version 1 is designed primarily as a proof-of-concept for feasibility test and general demonstration.
This project is intended to answer a simple question:
How many common household and commercial tasks can a 2-armed, moderate-dexterity, simple robot perform?
An additional goal is to expand the domestic robotics industry, by showing a viable model for new robotic ventures, and also showing the economic and social benefits of large-scale adoption of robotics.
The new robot, developed at the Technical University of Munich, exploits the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on dishes and utensils in its "Assistive Kitchen" to sidestep some of the object-recognition difficulties that have plagued previous household robots.
The French start up Aldebaran-Robotics based in Paris has high hopes for its humanoid robot called NAO. The device is 57 cm high and weighs 4.5 kilograms (about the size of a 6 month old baby) and you may be about to see a lot more of it. The company has sent a simplified version to 16 teams playing in the Robocup humanoid football league this year.
NAO looks an impressive device, judging by the design, which the company has posted on the arXiv today. And others clearly agree. Earlier this year, the company picked up Euros 5 million in venture capital funding to help commercialise the device. The target market is university research labs involved in developing the next generation of software and hardware for robotics.
That’s a smart move because it could make NAO a de facto standard.
NAO doesn’t come cheap, however. A single robot will set you back Euros 10K but that is significantly cheaper than most other humanoids. Fujitsu’s HOAP costs $50K, for instance, and Honda hasn’t been able to put price on Asimo.
The company hopes that economies of scale will bring down the price as production scales up. Eventually it hopes to sell NAO to the public for Euros 4K each.
Better start saving.
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