According to a story
on Thestar.com, a company called Dr.
announced plans to release a new humanoid robot for consumers that is
less expensive than the Sony SDR-4X with a
projected price of between $1,500 - $3,000. The company expects the
robots to be available by May of 2003. The yet-to-be-named
robot will be able to play chess, perform household
security and surveillance, and act as a personal assistant by checking
stock prices, weather, or travel info through its wireless Internet
Strange.. no one seems excited about this little biped robot.. There's
Pino, that one could obtain (only if a research institution) for around
$30K I believe.. SDR-4X that may be for sale shortly for around the
price of a luxury car, perhaps $30K to $40K... The Fujitsu HOAP-1 that
seems to be around $48K, and even Asimo, that companys can "lease" for
around $100K. And then these Canadian folks come up with something
similar (at least to the little guys) for less than a tenth of the
cost.. Former ATI execs apparently running the company.. If you follow
the link here you will find a news
story and short demo of the Dr Robot biped by clicking the top link of
the search returned results. It is a .wmv file (Windows Media) that
works out pretty well on a higher speed connnection. Maybe it's just
one of those "too good to be true" things?
You can get a laptop and a Evolution robot chassis unit.
At least it can fetch a new beer/soda when you need one.
It has email, and can dial out using a wireless cellular phone link too
(like for 911 in case of trouble).
Plus it doesn't cost a jillion dollars either.
I don't know how this little guy could help out very much around the
Loftly claims about all it can do on its 15 minutes of battery power
always amuse me, perhaps it has a funnel that I could pee in the top to
utilize my organic wastes to power a new sort of fuel cell?
Not sure where some of these come from but...
earlwb (Hi Earl) stated that he liked the ER1 better. Yes it has
wireless, but where did you hear of the "dialing a cell phone" part? If
it's through a web interface or program on the laptop, it seems the Dr
Robot model could be capable of this also, as it too has wireless
connectivity. Cost? ER1 at $700 PLUS a laptop (insert your price for a
PIII 500 Mhz Win 98 machine here, Pricewatch lists $630 as a lowball,
probably obtainable for $700-$750 at First Saturday). So a total of
around $1400 to $1500... Dr Robots has estimated $1500 to $3100 in one
of their news stories.. significantly less than a "jillion" dollars.
Getting a drink from the fridge? That may be a capability as soon as
Evolution releases that interesting grabber they demoed, but it will
only be able to get a drink off of one specific shelf at a specific
height. And how much does the arm add to the price? What if there is a
step between your kitchen and say a "sunken" living room or where ever
it's supposed to take your drink? The Dr Robot model does look a little
shaky, but it could be seen to at least get across a step or 2, maybe
even tightly hugging a can that it could reach from at least the bottom
2 shelves of a refrigrator.
About battery power.. guess I missed the 15 minutes refered to on the
Dr Robot website or the press releases, perhaps you could point it out?
I-Cybie with properly charged 700 mAh NiCad battery packs has
an "active" runtime of about an hour.. still not very good. It seems Dr
Robots claims of "Personal Assistant" run the gamut of what you'd get
from carrying a wireless PDA about. Not very power consuming.
Perhaps the main issue would be the ability to modify the 2
platforms. The ER1 is very readily changable to different
configurations, different abilities. Who knows about Dr Robot? Robot
hackers would obviously love to twiddle with different functions, add
and expand things, where as Joe consumer probably just takes what is
given and uses it as is.