Claire Lomas, a 36 year old woman who at the time was 16 weeks pregnant, recently completed the Great North Run, the largest half marathon in the
world that takes place each September in North East England.
Lomas has also been paralyzed from the chest down since 2007 following a
horseback riding accident.
Lomas used an exoskeleton from Re Walk Robotics to help her complete
the 13 mile journey over five days. She also had help from her husband, Dan,
who was behind her each step of the way. Lomas walked about three miles per
day, beating the heat, hills, and injuries throughout the half marathon.
Visitors to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport may find
themselves receiving assistance
from EMIEW: a 90 cm tall
humanoid robot developed by
Showing off its capabilities at
a carefully planned demonstration,
EMIEW (pronounced like the
flightless bird with a similar
looking name) guided a traveler to
a tourist office while another
EMIEW offered a downloadable
digital map showing the location
of the airport’s souvenir stores.
The wheel-based robot switched effortlessly between English and Japanese
(just like the “tourist” in the demonstration, actually), responding accurately and
naturally to each inquiry. The whole process did, however, seem a little on the
slow side, but since this was a trial run, response times may be speeded up
before the bots roll out on a more permanent basis toward the end of the year.
Hitachi has been developing EMIEW since 2005, with the Haneda version
the third in the series. The latest model — which has a top speed of 3. 7 mph ( 6
kmh) — features what Hitachi calls a “remote brain” where built-in sensors
work with external monitoring technology (think overhead cameras) to give the
robot all the information it needs for an appropriate response. The cloud based
system also enables multiple EMIEWs to cooperate with each other in a specific
space such as an airport. This is not necessarily a good thing for those who fear
the robot apocalypse, but could prove useful if you’re looking for a faraway
Should a late passenger sprinting to a gate happen to accidentally knock
EMIEW over, the bot can cleverly get back on its feet without any human
assistance — provided, of course, its electronics weren’t mangled in the fall.
bots IN BRIEF
16 SERVO 11.2016