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New HRP-4 Humanoid Robots From Japan To Go On Sale

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the do-they-come-with-evil-brothers dept.

Japan 157

An anonymous reader writes "Kawada Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have unveiled their new humanoid robot, HRP-4. The new humanoid stands 151cm tall and is much thinner than its predecessors. For Japan, HRP-4 is another step forward in creating useful mechanical workers to deal with a forthcoming shortage in the labor force and care for an aging population. HRP-4's creators expect to start selling the robot to universities and other research institutions as early as January 2011 for a price tag of $300,000, which is not that bad for a humanoid." The HRP-4s are a whole $100,000 cheaper than Willow Garage's PR2 (non-humanoid) robots, which became available earlier this month. The difference really adds up when building your robot army. Ron Moore could not be reached for comment.

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Cue the sleazy wah wah guitar (2, Informative)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613584)

On the whole, I think I'd rather hire an au pair girl.

Re:Cue the sleazy wah wah guitar (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613726)

HRP-4. Hmm... HeRPes-simplex4? Scary. Don't think you can practice safe sex with this robot.

Re:Cue the sleazy wah wah guitar (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613776)

An excellent point, my friend. Safety first!

Thou Misseth Ye Olde Pointe By Ye Longe Fur. (2, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614460)

On the whole, I think I'd rather hire an au pair girl.

If the Robot does the dishes and the floors and etc., then neither you nor your lady have to do it, and thusly, get to spend more time exploring the various corners of your sexual identities.

This does, of course, require a ladyfriend, and this is, of course, slashdot, so perhaps I'm being overly optimistic.

HRP, DRP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613596)

So they have the HERP-4, where is the DERP-4?

Not sure... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613602)


$300K would buy a lot of RealDolls...

Hm.

Re:Not sure... (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613814)

Yeah, but those "real dolls" would be a lot more fun if they'd actually move like a real woman. Plus, they won't clean the house or do the laundry. Women are good for a lot more than sex, you know.

I doubt cuddling with a "real doll" while watching a non-pornographic movie would be very fun. And if all you want is sex, crack whores are better than any sex toys.

Re:Not sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613852)

Whooooooa Nelly, let me see if I got this straight - real women move??? Mine just sites there like a lump! I've been missing out...

Re:Not sure... (1)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615612)

Maybe you should untie them a little beforehand.

Re:Not sure... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613856)

Women are good for a lot more than sex, you know. Wait... what???

And if all you want is sex, crack whores are better than any sex toys. Actually, the sex toys generally smell a lot better and carry fewer diseases. Mmmmm... plastic! But I agree, I can't understand why a real doll would appeal to anyone who is not a necrophiliac... I prefer my women to actually move once in a while.

Re:Not sure... (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613956)

I doubt cuddling with a "real doll" while watching a non-pornographic movie would be very fun.

Your wife has you trained well doesn't she.

Re:Not sure... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614554)

I see you've never read any of my journals. [slashdot.org] I haven't had a wife for eight years now. I have half a dozen girlfriends. Well, they're not exactly MY girlfriends, they come over when they're horny but fighting with their boyfriends. Lots better than real dolls! What's even better, they're usually so pissed at their boyfriends that they spend the BF's money on ME!

Oh, and I really do like cuddling. I like anything that ultimately leads to sex.

Re:Not sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614616)

Waitaminnit, how old are you? I always had you pegged for mid-to-high 50's, which certainly isn't the case here if you're capable of sustaining an erection, you manly man, you.

Re:Not sure... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615572)

Yeah but this thing is named herpes.. its a new fourth strain too.

Humanoid Robots are great and all (1)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613632)

But the words, "Exterminate! Exterminate!" evoke a much more visceral reaction from a robot that looks like a garbage can on wheels that one standing on 2 legs.

As such, the Willow Garage PR2 and similar successors will be the constituents of my invasion force.

Sincerely
--Davros

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613704)

The Daleks weren't robots, home-slice.

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615508)

Home-skillet

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613812)

Sadly, Davros's invasion force was stymied when it came across the first set of stairs, and failed miserably. Meanwhile, my invasion force using the HRP-4 went on to become a huge hit on Broadway!

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (4, Informative)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613938)

Dalek's don't navigate stairs. They level the building.

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614066)

Dalek's don't navigate stairs. They level the building.

Like Chuck Norris!

Wait...is that part of that meme?

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (1)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614450)

Cyberleader: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war on the Cybermen.
Dalek: This is not war. This is pest control!
Cyberleader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?
Dalek: Four
Cyberleader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
Dalek: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek!
Cyberleader: Just one? No. You are thinking of Chuck Norris.
Dalek: You are correct. I always get that mixed up.

Yes, I am a colossal nerd.

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (2, Informative)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614686)

Dalek's don't navigate stairs. They level the building.

Actually, Daleks were making their way up stairs as early as 1965. In "The Chase" they landed on the Mary Celeste at sea - on the main deck. They didn't show the Daleks climbing the stairs, but somehow one wound up on top of the Poop Deck a short while later...

So even though the "Daleks don't climb stairs" thing has been a popular Doctor Who meme over the years, even used in the show, and specifically debunked, first in the Seventh Doctor era and then later with the Ninth... Most of the time it wasn't true. :)

Re:Humanoid Robots are great and all (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615488)

Dalek's don't navigate stairs. They level the building.

Attack Formation 7. Which is composed of three Daleks side by side shooting at the same time.

I've been trying to work out what Attack Formations 1 through 6 might be.

Chi? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613646)

Chi!

Re:Chi? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614050)

Well.. that depends on where the put the reset button.

Re:Chi? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614260)

"Stick it in her pooper" - Old Internet meme. Kinda ruined the scene for me :).

Of course, you could simply cut the wires.

Do Not Want (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613650)

That would make a lousy sexbot. Come on, Japan, we expected much better than that of you! On the plus side, can it scrub toilets?

Have they fixed the medicine problem? (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613662)

If these robots are going to be caring for old people, what will prevent them from stealing old people's medicine? [hulu.com]

Re:Have they fixed the medicine problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614516)

Grandma has no more need of medicine. She is protected at the bottom of the stairs.

HRP-4 + Real Doll? (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613666)

Combine the HRP-4 and a real doll and you could make billions!

Especially if . . . (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613732)

. . . you can program it to clean out its own orifices.

I mean, yeeech, think about it.

Or better yet, let's all don't think about it. It's almost lunchtime.

Re:Especially if . . . (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613840)

I can just see it now:

The "HERPES-4_LOVE_DOLL" rushing for the hot water faucet then the Toilet to "Vomit" and "Pee" itself clean after an "encounter".

If something like this sees light of day, crack whores could die of withdrawal.

Re:Especially if . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613892)

I read that as clean out *your* orifices, and my instant thought was of a robotic douche.

Re:HRP-4 + Real Doll? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613824)

Looks like they're one step ahead of you [youtube.com] .

Robot army! (1)

AlfaMike (1902786) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613668)

Anyone else felt a weird evil feeling when you read "building your robot army"?

Re:Robot army! (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613972)

No, there is nothing weird about that evil feeling.

Re:Robot army! (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614010)

More like buying your robot army, friggin trustfund Evil Overlords.

Where are the two and three digit IDs saying back in their day they had to walk 5 miles in the snow uphill both ways to build a robot army/death ray/doomsday device.

Re:Robot army! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614080)

Anyone else felt a weird evil feeling when you read "building your robot army"?

That depends... was it purchased by somebody who died 10 years ago? If so, then you have absolutely no need to be suspscious and should surround yourself with them!

Should of been built like the Terminator (1)

Jetrel (514839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613672)

Pretty awesome but would of been more ground breaking if the modeled it after the T-800 or T-101 or whatever. The whole time I was watching it I was wondering what would happen if someone just came up and pushed it really hard. Wonder if it would be able to compensate?

Re:Should of been built like the Terminator (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613730)

It's programmed to detect people trying to upset it's balance, and then kick them in the balls. Hard. Sure, it falls over, but you'll never try that shit again, I guarantee ya!

Re:Should of been built like the Terminator (2, Funny)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613790)

Will you be able to compensate? You just knocked over 300,000 dollars of hardware.

Re:Should of been built like the Terminator (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615762)

I'm no expert, but I think a majority of the $300000 is for the software.

Re:Should of been built like the Terminator (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614546)

The "T" models will take a while.

This is just the "H" model.

I suppose the "M" models will have M appeal tho.

A little impressive. (2, Insightful)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613692)

This would be real impressive if the video showed the robot actually doing real work.

Re:A little impressive. (1)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613762)

The real work of mass robot invasion has not been put through all the trials yet. So they want to hold off on the video demo.

Re:A little impressive. (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613766)

I was going to post something very similar.

It's an interesting robot. It seems to have great balance and great range of motion, when it's just there by itself. What happens when it picks up something heavy? What happens when weight it is carrying shifts? Can it delicately handle easily damaged/broken items? Is it simply programmed, step by step for simple processes much like a line assembly stationary robot, or is it capable of recognizing and manipulating objects in three dimensions?

Re:A little impressive. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614012)

This isn't a shrinkwrapped product to do your dishes. The OEM should focus on physical specs like range of motion, torque, and number/type of sensors integrated. Then let researchers go from there.

Re:A little impressive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614022)

ZOMG, it looks like a robot from a movie! Is it a robot from a movie?!?!?! Liek, it can act like a human only better and smarter and faster and doesn't want to cuddle after you sex it?

No, dumbass, it's a real robot from real life.

Re:A little impressive. (3, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614682)

Actually, if you are a little familiar with Japanese culture you'd notice that the robot does some moves that would be recognizable to Japanese as moves and stances from Noh, Kabuki, Kendo, and probably a few other cultural things, which are rather precise. I'm sure the robot was programmed step by step, but never the less, the moves were rather smooth & precise.

Re:A little impressive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33615752)

This would be real impressive if the video showed the robot actually doing real work.

You want a video of the robot browsing Slashdot?

I'll wait for the new one from US Robotics (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613752)

I heard its software is field upgradable without user intervention and works with other USR units to accomplish really big tasks.

For some reason the brochure doesn't say what that really big task is...

Re:I'll wait for the new one from US Robotics (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615524)

Carrying a lot of yen to the bank ?

What we really want to know (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613770)

Can it dance? Is there a reward offered for the first team that successfully programs it to do "The Robot"? Will FOX be putting out a new reality show titled "So You Think Your Robot Can Dance"? Inquiring minds want to know!

Re:What we really want to know (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614548)

Of course it can dance [youtube.com] .

Re:What we really want to know (1)

Foobar_ (120869) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614884)

There is a robot dance competition called Robo-One Gate. It was held last year at the International Robot Exposition trade show in Tokyo. It is associated with with the Robo-One Competition, which features robots wrestling and just had its 18th event.
101,000 people visited the four-day marketing bonanza IREx 2009. The next one is being held in 2011.

Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROBO-ONE [wikipedia.org]
http://singularityhub.com/2009/12/24/so-you-think-your-robot-can-dance-videos/ [singularityhub.com]
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=international+robot+exposition [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=robo-one [youtube.com]

Falling and Dexterity (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613782)

The demo didn't address a few very important things about the robot (the only word I understood in that was 'watashi'). One, it showed it can move its hands but it didn't hold anything, so that's a bit suspect. The other thing that big since its bipedal rather than wheeled is that is has to worry more about falling over. It showed off its nice balance, but can it get up by itself? So it's kind of cool, but the only work I can see it doing is showing off is fashion related.

$300,000 is nothing. Cheap, near free. (2, Interesting)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613804)

Adding Afghanistan troops could cost $500000 per person - CNN.com http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/30/afghanistan.costs/index.html [cnn.com] a few bullets, use your targets as food, (sorry 'fuel') and bob is your warlord. And people worry about the singularity... @ 300,000.00 it'll be just a factory away from running your own country. Imagine using a stream of these as a Denial Of Service attack on, ok nevermind, the future as the curse says, will be interesting, but not pleasant.

$500,000 is NOTHING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613904)

U.S. $ 1 million per troop [thehill.com] .

Yours In Ashgabat,
K. Trout

Re:$300,000 is nothing. Cheap, near free. (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615546)

I always thought the primary purpose of war was to kill as many of the other blokes as possible. That way, once you won, there was less of the buggers left to get annoyed at all the raping and pillaging you were doing.

Costs as much as three Tesla Roadsters (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613828)

Somebody has a manufacturing cost problem.

This cost problem stalled robotics for years. Only in the last decade have research platform prices come down to even vaguely sane levels. Now, most universities with robotics programs have reasonable numbers of standard platforms running around, instead of just one or two hand-made units.

This thing needs to come down to $50K or so. The Aldebaran Nao, which is a decent research humanoid robot, tops out at EUR 12,000. The best Japanese hobbyist machines are in the $1K to $2K range. The only sensor that's still way overpriced is LIDAR, and there's no fundamental reason for that.

Re:Costs as much as three Tesla Roadsters (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614234)

It's because lie detectors are very complex machines, hence their cost.

or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613836)

Hmmm,... I guess Japan could try to invent intelligent robots to help their decrepit population, OR they could relax their racist immigration policies and allow immigrants in from Asia...
I wonder which method has the best chance of working (actually I don't, it's fucking obvious to any non idiot)

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (0)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613990)

Yeah but immigrants become old people too. So letting them in will be only a temporary solution. If a robot breaks you can fix it (using another robot?) or replace.

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614100)

Immigrants pay taxes and pay into the pension system and consume (i.e. buy shit thereby creating more demand in the economy).

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (1)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614308)

So... you also feel robots are the way to go?

Do tell us... (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614380)

Which particular race the japanese are discriminating against with their policies then? Are they racist against the
whole world - the minority japanese oppressing the rest of humanity blah blah blah?

Or were you just trying to prove how right-on you were by coming out with some tired old left wing racism rant
you found on Ebay in the 1980s section?

If the japanese don't want their country to turn into a fucking cultural zoo like most western countries these days then
good for them. They've obviously got a shit load more brains than self righteous arsewipes like you.

Re:Do tell us... (2, Insightful)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614856)

Are you implying that a western nation. such as the U.S. perhaps, is better off without people like me that make it a "cultural zoo?" DIAF please.

Japan has a history of disliking Koreans and the Chinese. They let everyone know in WW2. Although VERY much has changed in terms of their sentiments and superiority complex since then, I would NOT be surprised if those feelings are still lingering around in the form of odd immigration policies.

It's funny how many of my fellow right-leaning americans (yes I can tell you are one by your post) discount everything they disagree with as Left Wing. As if your opinion is a wall, and anything outside of your wall is a land populated by undesirables and kooks.

Re:Do tell us... (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615036)

Actually Japanese are usually considered fairly racist... Against anyone not Japanese. They have sizable Korean and Chinese populations in their country that they actively discriminate against for instance (both are 'second class citizens'). Though even among themselves they still discriminate against a certain class of their own people, though they do have a law against discovering who is of that class (though it's badly worded and stops nothing).

It's also really really hard to get citizenship. I know of a few people who have married Japanese women and moved to Japan... Then spent the next 15 years gaining citizenship... They are considered one of the hardest countries to immigrate to in the world.

Combine that with long lifespans and a dwindling population growth (family size is often 1 or 2 at most), then toss in a whole generation with issues like NEATS and generally high unemployment as companies don't hire as many new workers (since the old ones often never retire)... And you may start to see why they are having issues...

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614412)

I'm not sure racist is the best word to characterize their immigration policies. As far as I know they treat people for all over the world the same way, that is, to highly discourage immigration. That's not racist, but nationalistic. Racist would be what the US had (and probably will in the near future) that targeted specific immigrant groups (ie. no Chinese or Japanese in, but Irish or Italians are welcome).

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (1)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614608)

Or they could start having children...

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614702)

Yes! Exactly! It's working out so well in Eurabia! Allah Akbar biatches!

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615600)

and allow immigrants in from Asia

Where, exactly, do you think Japan IS ?

Anyway, the increasing trend these days is for said "immigrants" to pay as little as possible into the tax and pension scheme, rather send as much money as they can home to their own country (thus draining funds from the local economy), so they can build a house and live like a king once they retire.

Re:or they could allow immigrants to work in Japan (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615740)

Hmmm,... I guess Japan could try to invent intelligent robots to help their decrepit population, OR they could relax their racist immigration policies and allow immigrants in from Asia...

My take is that it's an interesting experiment. If it doesn't work, then there's another arrow in the quiver for the multiculturalists. If it does work, then we have a better understanding of relatively extreme human societies than we did before.

I don't always HRP-4.... (2, Funny)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613864)

but when I do, I DRP-4.

c0m (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33613912)

in ete8nity...Romeo market sha8e. Red clearly become number of FreeBSD

Can it recover from unexpected instability? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613942)

What if it walks on a surface that is moving chaotically? What if something or someone collides with it or pushes it? Can it react instantly to such enexpected situations to keep its balance as well as a human can?

Evil Robot Army delayed by strong Yen (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613974)

Great we finally have robot soldiers ready to export and the strongest Yen to Dollar exchange rate in 15 years...

Just 2 years ago you'd have had nearly 50% more buying power.

Why is the American robot so expensive? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613986)

While certainly not cheap, why is the Japanese robot so much cheaper than what the American company is offering, especially when it seems to be more sophisticated?

I'd like to know what Japanese companies have figured out that Americans are incapable of. Whenever a Japanese company begins selling some fairly high technology to the public it ends up being substantially cheaper than what an American counterpart would have asked. Is it that much more expensive to run a business and manufacture something in the US? Are Americans simply more likely to overcharge? Whatever it is, it seems to be a recurring pattern. If it's a product from an American company, and it isn't cheap crap made in China, then you're going to pay through the nose for it.

Re:Why is the American robot so expensive? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614200)

The lack of land in Japan leads to minimizing inventory/work-in-progress and efficiency of machinery. This sometimes leads to lower cost of goods as a side effect.

Excellent robot platform (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33613996)

An excellent robot platform would be upgradeable to better parts over time, so new arms/hands/legs/motion controls/battery units/cameras and other sensors could be installed and so more 'brains' could connect to it via a wireless network, then it would be up to the programs to provide this machine with more and more capabilities. Sure, it doesn't know your apartment and can't wash dishes right now, but give it a server with a good map of your place and add more software to 'teach' it to wash dishes, and there you have it.

Robot soldiers are a BAD idea (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614112)

I think that using robots instead of human beings to fight our wars just sets us up for a situation where 100% of the casualties of war will be civilians.

Re:Robot soldiers are a BAD idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614666)

So, you prefer to reduce that percentage by diluting the civilian deaths with additional soldier deaths? o.0

Re:Robot soldiers are a BAD idea (1)

clintonmonk (1411953) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614898)

and dead people.

Re:Robot soldiers are a BAD idea (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615482)

Well, maybe that will give civilian populations less incentive to fight stupid and pointless wars. If they know the only lives at risk are their own, then they don't have the convenience of armed and trained soldiers to hide behind.

Anime predicting the future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614196)

Bubble Gum Crisis, Bubble Gum Crash. Boomers.

'nuff said.

Robot Armies (2, Interesting)

Dvinn (927610) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614220)

These already look about as capable as the droids in the Star Wars movie universe. Now they just need to be programmed to say 'roger roger.'

Sounds great, but.... (1)

exx1976 (1716406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614256)

can it run Crysis?

Cobra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614342)

I'd definitely pay 300k for a robot whose blue version looks like a scaled down Cobra Commander.

Do you think he sings the GI-Joe theme song?

Robo-slave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33614370)

For Japan, HRP-4 is another step forward in creating useful mechanical workers to deal with a forthcoming shortage in the labor force and care for an aging population. HRP-4's creators expect to start selling the robot to universities and other research institutions as early as January 2011 for a price tag of $300,000, which is not that bad for a humanoid."

The age of robot slavery starts. Theirs not ours.

Sexbot demo in video? (1)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614390)

I for one noticed in the demo video that there was another robot with a female head in the background on the right.
While industrial uses are probably limited, I wonder how many would pay out the $200,000 price tag for that one.

To the future of the Japanese sex industry

HRP-4? (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614448)

I'm gonna hold out until they release its canine robotic companion, the DRP-4.

Robots coming on faster than expected. (3, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614512)

I've been thinking robots would be a real problem starting in about 2020 based on current vision and manual dexterity systems progress.
Discussing this elsewhere (and told I was too pessimistic), I came across the following information.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2010/tc2010061_798891.htm [businessweek.com]
Soon, That Nearby Worker Might Be a Robot

Online retailer Diapers.com employs more than 350 of the robots in three warehouses, and is adding "hundreds per month," says Executive Vice-President Scott Hilton. Retailer Crate & Barrel has purchased Kiva robots to be installed in its Tracy (Calif.) distribution center in July. One reason Crate & Barrel and Diapers.com decided to use Kiva robots is that the robots can work in the dark, reducing carbon emissions and saving money on air-conditioning and lighting. ...

at El Camino Hospital in Silicon Valley, 19 robots fulfill a range of tasks, from delivering medication and food to taking out trash. ...

Hiring as many humans ... would have cost the hospital more than $1 million a year, says Ken King, vice-pr.... Leasing the robots from Aethon costs $350,000 a year, which helps the hospital contain costs and offer patients affordable health care, he says.

The Tug robots pull their weight, say hospital officials. Tugette, for example, rolls through El Camino Hospital's corridors making deliveries around the clock, opening doors, summoning elevators, and speaking politely with workers and patients.

--

So let's see.

        * Two THIRDs cheaper than humans
        * Works 24 hours a day
        * Works in the dark
        * Doesn't require air conditioning
        * Some companies are employing "hundreds of them" with more on the way.
        * Replaces humans who go into the warehouse and get things and who stock shelves.
        * If you have any kind of SLA, it also basically never gets sick.

And that's NOW. Right now. Already happening- not 10 years from now.

It's going to be very difficult to adjust to this change in less than a generation- if it is even possible to adjust to it at all.

Boy oh boy... (1)

darien.train (1752510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614650)

Japanese culture will go down in the history books as one of the most interesting and self-destructive cultures of all time. They're essentially destroying themselves (both literally with suicide and figuratively by not breeding enough to replace their population numbers) and seem to be in some kind of race to replace themselves with robots rather than suffer the indignity of opening their culture to outsiders. My wish is that the burakumin take to the streets and impose a cultural uprising that will set Japan back on a course toward healthy minds, equality, and some damn common-sense. If they wanted to throw animal blood on the attendees of Tokyo U that would be good too.

I know a lot of people think Japanese culture is really cool as I once did. You won't think it's so cool if you dig past the bright lights and anime to see the seriously f'd up stuff that goes on there. I would go as far as to say that they're culture is more depraved and sad than ours (US Urban North East-Cost).

Re:Boy oh boy... (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615386)

unhh...Japan is severely overpopulated. This is ONE of the reasons their immigration policies are so restrictive. (Admittedly not the only one.)

It's true that the population is aging, but you don't solve a population problem by increasing the size of the base of the pyramid. Robots MAY be an answer. (Even if they aren't good enough to care for elders, they can do other jobs, which free those people to take other jobs, freeing some people to assist elders. Whether this will work depends on how easily people can transition from job class to job class, which is largely dependent on social policies. (It's usually been handled pretty damn poorly everywhere on the planet...but that just means it's something that needs improvement, it doesn't mean it isn't the right answer.)

P.S.: When I say difficult, I'm including economic and retraining costs as difficulties. And support for oneself and ones dependents while in the process of transition. Also possible relocation expenses...including reestablishing a network of friends. EVERYTHING, and there's lots. All of which are generally handled in an extremely poor manner, because the displaced person is in a powerless position. This NEEDS to be improved, or the robots are just going to be trashed by angry mobs. (Robot soldiers aren't the correct answer to this problem, but it appears to be the only solution that's being worked on.)

Posting 101 (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33614804)

The important lesson being if you are going to place a Slashvertisement, make sure your server has the bandwidth to handle all the traffic.

I guess once they've sold one of those $300,000 dollar babies, they'll be able to upgrade their hosting plan.

And I for one welcome (1)

exx1976 (1716406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615382)

our new HRP-4 overlords.

Counterhumanoid Robots (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615662)

I don't need a humanoid robot. I've already got the humanoid that needs augmentation: myself. If I need another humanoid, I've got a wife. I need nonhumanoids for all the things my wife won't/can't do. What I really need is a robot chair that carries me around Jazzfest, defaulting to my preferred scheduled stages and food booths, then bars around New Orleans, while arranging the best meeting places with my friends. I need a chair that will take me up and down stairs, carrying groceries and stuff. Something in my garage that will load and unload my car (which should be a lot more robotic, like finding its own parking and doing basic errands without me), delivering the stuff to wherever in my house it goes. Take out the trash, to the curb, after separating the recycling. Make my bed, carry laundry from floor to hamper to washer to dryer, folding it back into the closets and drawers. Unload the dishwasher into the cabinets. Walk the dog.

Some of those tasks might best be done by a humanoid, since humans have done them adequately for so long. Really they mostly need hands and arms, but maybe not, and feet, but only because we've got steps, and probably something more like tank tracks which can deform on the roller axles to "walk" or something like it.

Having any or all of those tasks built into a single humanoid, or a team, is creepy. It's more a latent desire to enslave other humans than a desire to offload tasks to whatever just gets them done. Making them humanoid seems like a lot of extra work for just a fetish. So there's probably a market for AI "Real Doll" robots, but the stuff I don't want any part of doing should probably be a lot more abstract in form factor.

Re:Counterhumanoid Robots (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615784)

Some of those tasks might best be done by a humanoid, since humans have done them adequately for so long. Really they mostly need hands and arms, but maybe not, and feet, but only because we've got steps, and probably something more like tank tracks which can deform on the roller axles to "walk" or something like it.

Having any or all of those tasks built into a single humanoid, or a team, is creepy. It's more a latent desire to enslave other humans than a desire to offload tasks to whatever just gets them done. Making them humanoid seems like a lot of extra work for just a fetish. So there's probably a market for AI "Real Doll" robots, but the stuff I don't want any part of doing should probably be a lot more abstract in form factor.

So you want to expensive restructure your house to accommodate a tracked robot just because you don't want to seem to have a humanoid fetish? My take is that a human home is designed around a humanoid form. Hence, it doesn't take a fetish to desire a humanoid robot that can operate in your home without requiring substantial changes to the home.

Not good enough (1)

fuego451 (958976) | more than 4 years ago | (#33615700)

I'll hold out for a cyborg babe.

Future of military not workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33615800)

For the cost of one missile you could load several of these down with enough solid explosive and hand over a rifle or two an would be much more effective and directed. The only problem would be insertion. On the other side, why cant they make one taller than them?

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