Toshiba developed the ApriAttenda (Advanced Personal Robot with Intelligence, Attendant), a kind of robotic nanny, capable of following children around the house or guiding the elderly. If it loses contact with its charge, it will try to locate them visually and by calling out to them audibly. If a person responds, it estimates the sound’s origin and turns in that direction.
It stands 90cm tall, weighs 30kg, and has stereo CCD cameras in its head allowing it to distinguish individuals in a cluttered environment, as well as dishes regardless of their orientation (some of the image processing technologies were jointly developed with Tokyo University of Science). Its wheel carriage has a fall protection structure to prevent accidents, even when the robot must follow a person very quickly.
Perhaps realizing the limitations of such a robot without limbs, Toshiba modified the ApriAttenda to include them, and have experimented with the set up. The modified ApriAttenda was able to grasp a cup from a table and place it on an adjacent cart. They have also used the ApriAttenda to test their proprietary Dynagent software technology, which constantly monitors the external world while the robot is executing a plan. If something unexpected occurs, Dynagent informs the robot so that a new plan of action can be selected. This software will hopefully allow robots to plan and perform actions reliably in real-world settings.
In March 2009, Toshiba unveiled ApriAttenda ver.2, which features two arms and an extending upper body, effectively replacing the original ApriAttenda.
- Toshiba ApriAttenda (official press release JP)
- ApriAttenda @ Impress PC Watch (JP)
- ApriAttenda @ +D IT Media (JP)
Toshiba | Impress Robot Watch