Hitachi’s EMIEW 2 is one of my favorite robots. It sports a cute anime-inspired design, features some cool innovations, and is a huge improvement over the first EMIEW.
The main issue with the original EMIEW was that it was too big and cumbersome for daily office life. At 70kg, if it malfunctioned and toppled over it could easily injure a person or damage equipment. EMIEW 2 is much smaller at 80cm tall, and weighs only 13kg, so even an office lady can pick it up and carry it around.
One of the EMIEW 2’s most innovative features is its mobility system, which combines legs with wheels. Instead of walking around like other bipedal robots, it maintains equilibrium on wheels using a gyro sensor which constantly checks its center of gravity. However, the designers knew that while traveling on wheels is not only faster but more energy efficient for a robot, there are times when it might be handy to have legs.
That’s when it automatically deploys kick-stands on each leg, which serve as impromptu feet. These stabilize it as it steps over an obstacle. It can also kneel down and ride around with a lower, more stable center of gravity, using its rubbery knee guards as a bumper in the unlikely event of a collision.
Inside its red helmet are 2 cleverly hidden cameras and 14 positional microphones which pick up the location of whoever is speaking to it. In its neck region, it has a laser scan sensor to detect people or obstacles around it. It also has fully functioning arms with clamp-like hands capable of carrying lightweight objects.
Hitachi once set itself the goal of commercializing a more advanced version of the EMIEW by 2010, but those plans have probably changed. Hitachi has since developed a non-anthropomorphic robotic transporter called Lapi.
- Hitachi Robotics (official site EN) (JP)
- Official Press Release (JP)
- Emiew 2 @ Impress Robot Watch (JP)
- EMIEW 2 figure @ mi2 Studio
Impress Robot Watch | mi2 studio | Akihabara News