Humanoid: EMIEW 2 Can Mimic Human Navigation Effortlessly

Emiew2 robot with coworkers

Hitachi has introduced its new and improved EMIEW 2 humanoid robot. The predecessor of this robot, EMIEW (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate), was presented in the 2007 as a service robot aided with multiple communication functions which could safely perform services for humans in an office.

The impressive looking EMIEW2 robot measures 80 centimeters in height and 14 kilograms in weight and moves at a high speed of 6km/hour. For the mobility purpose, the robot features a unique system of wheels and legs, which allows it to climb stairs with ease. It moves at the same pace as humans and remain stable even if stopped abruptly. 

Steering through Crowded Arenas

Hitachi has also improved the software installed in the robot, which has enhanced its capability to comprehend its surroundings than before. It can move swiftly in a crowded office or hospitals, meeting people while performing work assigned and without dashing with any human or objects.

EMIEW robot is laced with a vision sensor and a number of audio sensors that help the robot to identify the person from whom the sound came from. EMIEW can respond in a natural-sounding voice by utilizing high-quality speech synthesis technology.

Hitachi's EMIEW2 humanoid robot

Pre-Stored Digital Maps for Navigation

Initially EMIEW2 robot had pre-stored digital maps in its memory for its navigation in the rooms, corridors and other areas of the workplace. Apart from maps, it was equipped with sensors and laser range finder, which helped the robot to identify any obstacle like humans or any object that lay ahead in its course of movement and accordingly, it could reduce its speed and changed its direction avoiding collisions. But the makers felt that the humanoid robot requires further improvement to avoid accidents.

EMIEW 2 adjusts its path and speed as it approaches a corner, to avoid any collision

The researchers further improved the navigation software by introducing designated zone feature, depending on which the bot alters its speed and direction. Like in the case, there is a blind corner in the office where people appear unexpectedly or a door that remains locked always and therefore, the robot reduces its speed and changes its path conveniently, if someone approaches. If required the bot can change its route completely to avoid crowded area. The new software helps the robot to identify areas in the workplace that are usually crowded and such information gets stored in its memory and is used by the robot in the future navigation through that course. The stored information helps the robot to make adjustment as per the situation.

Hitachi says that the bot can perform multiple work like serving drinks or other objects to the coworkers in the office or hospitals. It can also be used for receiving guests or taking a role of a guard. And if you are planning to get one of this adorable EMIEW2 robots, you need to wait a little, as Hitachi plans to conduct a few more tests with the robot, before the same is available commercially.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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