Ever since Robodex, Mitsubishi's Wakamaru
service robot has been getting a lot of press. Like most new robots
these days, Wakamaru runs
Linux but unlike most, it's not a biped and not expensive. Wakamaru
looks like a cross between a Dalek, a traffic cone, and a duck. The
purchase price is about $14,000, which is cheap by Japanese robot
standards. While name may sound like it came from down under, it is actually
derived from a mythical Japanese
Warrior (note the two spots on his head, just like the robot).
Stories on the Wakamaru have appeared in Wired,
Linux Weekly News, Captain Japan, LinuxDevices.com,
Tech, and The
The appearance of robots like these is encouraging, but the "home
robot" concept is still in its infancy and these types of device are
still much too expensive and have only rather limited abilities.
At $14000 its unlikely to be a mass market product. It's likely to be
the plaything of wealthy individuals or research departments.
There are also possible security issues with teleoperating such robots
in the home via the internet. The manufacturers will need to ensure
that only those with appropriate passwords can use the robot. If a
telerobot like this was hacked and used for maliceous purposes there
could be a backlash which would effectively put a stop to a new