It looks as though NEC’s household communication robot PaPeRo, a research and development project which began in 1997, may finally be commercialized in 2012. That’s thanks to LIXIL Housing Institute, which has rented the robot from NEC since 2009 to develop a new HEMS (Home Energy Management System). They’ve created around a dozen new functions, such as automatically opening windows (depending on the weather), which the company claims is an industry first. Mainly it will be used to monitor the home’s energy usage and make adjustments to increase efficiency (actual usage will be displayed on a terminal). It will use indoor and outdoor temperature sensors as well as a wind sensor to determine the ideal settings for heating and air conditioning.
Additionally, you’ll be able to control various home appliances through the robot using natural spoken language. The system includes a home security program, and during disasters the robot will provide helpful information. The company plans to include a “senior monitoring” program as well, which will likely notify authorities in the case of a health emergency. With LIXL planning to offer the system to their home buyers beginning next year, NEC will have thousands of potential customers for their robot, which may explain the recent development of a self-charging system. As part of the deal, LIXIL will get to rebrand PaPeRo to LiLiBo for their own marketing purposes.
Earlier this year, you may have seen that Sanyo Home Sales is launching its own HEMS system called MIRAI SANZO, which also uses a “robot” that runs the Android OS. It monitors home energy consumption and can control certain appliances through voice commands.
[source: Robonable (JP)]