TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Japanese House Sitter Robot Now Available

Japanese House Sitter Robot Now Available

Hiroko Tabuchi (
Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:29:23 -0500

By HIROKO TABUCHI, Associated Press Writer

Worried about leaving your house empty while you go on vacation? Japan
has the answer: a house-sitter robot armed with a digital camera,
infrared sensors and a videophone.

Stores across Japan started taking orders on Thursday for the Roborior
-- a watermelon-sized eyeball on wheels that glows purple, blue and
orange -- continuing the country's love affair with gadgets.

Roborior can function as interior decor, but also as a virtual guard
dog that can sense break-ins using infrared sensors, notify homeowners
by calling their cellular phones, and send the owner's cell phone
videos from its digital camera.

It debuted in department stores this week, but supplies are
limited. The robot is on display in a half-dozen shops, though many
more are taking orders.

"We've had robots before that were just toys, but the Roborior can
actually be put to practical use in the home," said Takako Sakata, a
spokeswoman for the department store chain Takashimaya.

Such technology doesn't come cheaply. Takashimaya will sell the
machines, developed by Japanese robot maker Tmsuk Co. Ltd. and
electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., for $2,600 each.

"We received a lot of inquiries after the demonstrations," Sakata
said. "Our initial plan is to sell 2,000 robots."

Tmsuk has already produced a four-legged security robot called Banryu,
which is about the size of a large dog and sells for $18,000.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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