Japan-based Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and robot venture Vstone have announced the joint development of a mini humanoid [JP] that’s able to handle objects dexterously through a remote control. The so-called Robovie-PC is already on sale in Japan and costs $4,500.
The humanoid is 38cm tall, weighs 2.2kg and has a total of 20 joints in its body (six in each foot, three in each arm and two in the head). It’s also equipped with 5 sensors and a head-mounted 1.3MP CMOS camera that you can connect to your PC via USB. The robot is powered by an Atom Z530 processor (1.60GHz).
You can make Robovie-PC hold and transfer objects between its hands. The way it works is that you have to sit in front of a PC that’s connected to the robot, wearing special gloves fitted with markers (see the picture above). A camera mounted to the PC traces the markers in 3D, and the robot’s hands mimic the way you move the gloves. For example, the robot will grasp an object if you tilt your hand so the glove markers are at 90 degrees.
Robovie-PC only supports Windows XP/Vista/7 and Linux PCs. ATR and Vstone hope to sell 50 units within the next 12 months.