July 14, 2008 At the Izutsuya department store in Kitakyushu, Japan, robot developer TMSUK, whose lofty objective is to create a “safe and comfortable society in which people and robots can coexist”, has demonstrated a remote-control robot that promises a new way for homebodies to shop from the comfort of home. The prototype telerobotic shopper is a modified version of the company’s TMSUK-4 humanoid robot that incorporates a variety of mobile phone communications technology.
In the demonstration, a homebound grandmother unable to go shopping with her granddaughter sent the robot in her place. The grandmother controlled the robot using an NTT DoCoMo video-capable cellphone, and experienced the shopping trip through the robot’s camera eyes. The woman maneuvered the robot to the hat section, and after checking out what was on offer, had her granddaughter model a few for her before deciding which one to purchase.
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The original TMSUK-4 robot, which was developed in 1999 and forms the basis of the telerobotic shopper, has 27 degrees of freedom and TMSUK has sold 11 such robots to universities and research institutes. According to TMSUK, the demonstration brings us a step closer to a future in which you’re just as likely to be stuck behind a robot at the checkout as a human being.
For further info visit TMSUK.