bots IN BRIEF
SKATING AROUND THE ISSUES
Hitachi’s EMIEW2 humanoid robot uses wheels on its legs instead of feet. This approach
gives the robot efficiency and stability while moving, along with the potential for it to make
its way over obstacles (sort of).
EMIEW2 has adaptive suspension, but it’s unclear as to whether the robot can actually
balance itself on one wheel which would be necessary for it to “step” over an obstacle
larger than its wheels are capable of negotiating. It can do precision speech recognition and
sound localization which is handy, plus it’s also kinda cute.
As with most Asian humanoid robots with fancy plastic shells, Hitachi suggests many
ways in which EMIEW2 might be commercially useful (the obligatory guide/guard duties),
but doesn’t offer any sort of cohesive commercial details.
EMIEW2 stands about 32 inches tall and weighs about 30 pounds. It can move around
on either two or four wheels depending on its leg position, and navigates via a scanning
range finder. Aided by its active suspension system, incorporating a linear actuator
movement mechanism and conventional wheel legs, it can roll around obstacles on uneven
floors without losing its balance and it is especially mechanized to detect wheel slip. This makes it efficient to overcome the
threshold of elevator doors and steps with more stability.
Its top speed is reported to be 3. 7 MPH and it has 25 axes of movement.
It separates the noise out using three-dimensional sound localization with a 14-channel microphone in its head.
SHEDDING SOME LIGHT
LuminAR, designed by Natan Linder, is not the first
robotic desk lamp to come out of MIT. In 2007, recall
AUR, a five DoF robotic lamp designed to follow your
movements around a desktop, changing the color,
intensity, and focus of its light to help keep you organized
and productive. LuminAR is similar in concept, except it’s
significantly more complex, incorporating a pico projector
along with a vision system to allow for a large degree of
Fortunately, all this interactivity looks to be intuitive
rather than overbearing.
QUADRUPLE THE CLEANING POWER
People use Roombas (and Creates) as bases for all kinds
of robots. They’re not often used for bigger (heavier) bots,
but if you stick four of them together, apparently you can
support a payload of up to 20 kg or one Robotinho android.
The Roomba QuadDrive was developed by the University of
Bonn’s Autonomous Intelligent Systems Lab, and consists of
four Roomba 530s bolted together. As far as mobile bases
go, it’s probably pretty cheap and reliable. The top speed of
0.5 MPH isn’t going to amaze, but it’s fine for tooling around
a museum and scaring little kids.
Of course, the floors of the museum are pretty damn
22 SERVO 08.2010