Robot Takes Music Where You Want to Hear It (December 15, 2006)
The small robot "miuro," which contains a music player, is essentially a moving stereo. It measures 35 cm across and 22 cm high, it weighs 5 kg, and it moves on two wheels. Priced at an affordable ¥108,800 ($907 at ¥120 to the dollar), with the purchase of an add-on package for ¥19,800 ($165) users with a computer and wireless LAN can enjoy having the robot autonomously navigate their house using onboard cameras and sensors, finding its own way to the living room and other preprogrammed locations. For example, it could be used in place of an alarm clock, moving into your bedroom and waking you up with the song of your choice in the morning.
An Integral Part of Life
Industrial robots account for most of Japan's robot market at present. When Sony Corp. released the dog-like robot AIBO in 1999 for home use, sales were not as good as expected, and the company later halted production. Robots that feature human-like intelligence and those that can walk on two legs are still in the development stages, and those that are available remain too expensive for ordinary consumers to purchase.
The miuro, however, is priced affordably enough for most households. A company spokesperson explains: "Robots had previously attracted attention just for being able to move. What we're trying to do is make this kind of robot a part of everyday life, showing people a new kind of lifestyle."