Welcome again to JJNN for February 16th, 2009. Today we will be talking about robots.
I watched a lot of TV as a child. When I was very young my family didn't have cable TV so I was forced to watch the free TV stations. My favorite TV channel was PBS. I spent hours watching such shows as Discovery and NOVA. Every so often one of those TV programs would do a show on robots. They would say how great robots were and how great they would become. I lost track of the times that I hard that all homes in America would have robots in them by 2010. Well, it's early in 2009, but I can't see a golden age of robot help in the home around any corner. Where is my robot!? I want my robot, damn it!
Well that is where this news article and NEDO steps in. What's NEDO, you may ask. Well NEDO stands for New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. Technically I guess it should be NEITDO, but that is not as easy to say. NEDO is an organization that started way back in 1980 because of the oil crisis . Back than it was all about finding an energy source to replace oil. They started to look into industrial technology in 1988. Ever since 2006 they have been holding their robotics contest. The contest for this year is geared towards robots that could be mass produced for 2015 (only 5 years after the 2010 prediction from NOVA)
The NEDO robotics contest hard 3 distinct categories: advancements in the field of industrial robotics, advancements in the field of robots used in medical facilities, and advancements in field of robots used in emergencies. Though there were 18 robots in the running in the three categories, only 6 ended up getting any prize.
There were also demonstrations at the contest. The first robotic demonstration was a robot that goes around a hospital and passes out medicine and other such things. Personally I don't think this would fly in America because that robot would probably be pried open within an hour of it starting to operate. A defenseless robot with narcotics inside of it... not going to work.
The second robot is a rescue robot. It weighs about 20 Kg (about 44 pounds) and can be used to go into places that are too dangerous or tight for humans to enter. The robot sports a fisheye lens camera and infrared camera. A special software uses the information from the cameras to make a 3D map of the area. That is all nice, but in the end this is basically a really mobile radio controlled car that has cameras strapped to it. You can see a picture of the hospital robot (the upper picture) and the rescue robot (the lower picture) below.