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DPRG: FW: Robot Helper

Subject: DPRG: FW: Robot Helper
From: Dan Miner miner at centtech.com
Date: Thu Aug 26 12:54:34 CDT 1999

Japan's NEC Develops Home Helper Robot

                                            Updated 7:59 AM ET August
26,
1999


 TOKYO (Reuters) - Just can't find good help these days?

 Japanese chipmaker NEC Corp says it may have the
 answer: an egg-shaped household robot that responds to
 voice commands, records and sends video-mail through the
 Internet and switches on air conditioners, televisions and VCRs with an
infrared remote
 control device.

 NEC says the R100, its 7.9 kg (17 lbs.) three-wheeled robot measuring
44 cm
(17.6
 inches) tall and 28 cm wide, can watch over an empty home or a
bed-ridden
patient.

 The R100 can be taught to recognize about 10 different people with its
"eyes" -- a
 charge-coupled device (CCD) camera -- and speak and understand 300
Japanese
 phrases.

 "Technologically, we could also make an English-speaking R100," a NEC
spokesman said,
 although the company has no plans to do so.

 The R100 can also fall asleep, wake up and start a conversation, NEC
said.

 It said its robot has more capabilities than Sony Corp's Aibo, a robot
dog.
Sony sold a
 total of 5,000 Aibos in the United States and Japan in June at a retail
price of 250,000 yen
 ($2,250).

 NEC said it hopes to launch the R100 in 2001 at a price of about
200,000 to
300,000
 yen.

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