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Monday, March 26, 2001

Robodog :: : New Robot Dog Called 'PC on Legs'

Designer Nick Wirth shakes the paw of his creation, the RS01 RoboDog during its launch in London March 21. (Russell Boyce/Reuters) ‘PC on Legs’

Robot Dog Can ‘Hear,’ ‘See’ and Read E-Mail

By Jennifer P. Sterling

March 21 — British designers today unveiled a robot dog that could probably take a bite out of Aibo, a popular Japanese model.

NEC :: Papero :: The Times Robot to counsel families


A TALKING robot clever enough to heal family rifts may sound like science fiction. But the makers of PaPeRo — Partner-type Personal Robot — claim that it can smooth things out when families are no longer on speaking terms.

NEC, the electronics firm, showed the machine’s peacemaking potential yesterday. With its cute, round head and big eyes, PaPeRo stands a mere 15in and weighs 11lb. Yet stuffed into the automaton are two digital cameras, four microphones, five sensors and a motor that lets it move. It can utter 3,000 phrases, recognise 650 expressions and responds depending on the speaker. That would enable it, for example, to act as a go-between for a sulking child and its parents.

There are no plans to market the robot and no price set. Ten families are testing it so improvements can be made.