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• ApriAttenda ver.2

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On February 6th 2009, Toshiba unveiled ApriAttenda ver.2. The biggest improvement over the earlier model is the inclusion of two arms, both of which have 3-fingered hands with which the robot can grasp simple objects, such as specially designed food trays and handles.  It operates on AIST’s Open-HRP3 robot middleware.

The original ApriAttenda could follow a person around, presumably to keep an eye on them or your house while away. The new version is designed to take a much more active role, helping out the old and infirm around the home, moving about on wheels. Though its weight and battery life (operating on Li-ion batteries) weren’t specified, the robot’s unique ability to raise and lower its entire upper body (from 100cm to 130cm) was demonstrated.

Stargazer, a localization system using an IR camera tilted towards the ceiling, tracks special ceiling markers, giving the robot valuable mapping data. Currently, two laser range finders are installed for wide-angle obstacle detection in the base and abdomen area. Special handles designed specifically for the robot would be installed on your fridge, microwave, and so on. The robot’s comical head has a stereo camera configuration which could be used for a variety of navigation and recognition tasks.

ApriAttenda ver.2 is being tested alongside a robotic wheelchair called the iArm, which could be described as Stephen Hawking’s wet dream, equipped with an arm and hand, capable of extending to grab otherwise out of reach items, and helping its owner with tasks such as eating. Both robots are being tested in virtual environments, with funding to roll out 500 iArms for field trials in the near future.

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Image credits:
Toshiba | Impress Robot Watch | AFP BB News

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