Tag: ‘Fujitsu’

Photos: Robots at CEATEC 2008

01 Oct 2008

Robots old and new are on display at the CEATEC 2008 home electronics trade show currently underway in Chiba, Japan.

Nissan BR23C Biomimetic Robot Car at CEATEC 2008 --
Nissan BR23C Biomimetic Robot Car

Nissan unveiled the bumblebee-inspired BR23C Biomimetic Robot Car, which is equipped with a prototype collision avoidance system developed in cooperation with the University of Tokyo. The next-generation safety technology is modeled after the way that bees avoid crashing into each other.

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Mechadroid Type C3 at CEATEC 2008 --
Mechadroid Type C3

The Mechadroid Type C3 receptionist robot developed by Business Design Laboratory relies on face recognition technology, a touch panel display, speech, and facial expressions to interact with visitors and guide them to their destination.

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ifbot at CEATEC 2008 --

Ifbot -- also developed by Business Design Laboratory -- is a speech-capable robot that can identify emotions in the voice and word choice of the person talking. The robot can also communicate its own emotions with a range of facial expressions.

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Murata Seiko-chan and Seisaku-kun (Murata Boy) at CEATEC 2008 --
Murata Seiko-chan and Seisaku-kun (a.k.a. Murata Boy)

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.'s popular robot bicyclist, Murata Seisaku-kun (a.k.a. Murata Boy), was joined on stage by his recently-unveiled younger cousin, Murata Seiko-chan, who is well-balanced enough to ride a unicycle.

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Nabaztag at CEATEC 2008 --

The Nabaztag Wi-Fi Smart Rabbit manufactured by Violet is a bunny-shaped personal assistant that connects to your home wireless network.

Nabaztag at CEATEC 2008 --

In addition to announcing the latest news, weather and traffic information, the rabbit can tell the time, light up when email arrives, stream Internet radio and podcasts, and respond to spoken commands.

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Enon at CEATEC 2008 --
Enon leads the way to the wine section

Fujitsu's Enon robot demonstrated the ability to interact with customers and guide them to the wine section.

Enon at CEATEC 2008 --
Enon takes a break

Fujitsu develops “invisible” barcode

15 Sep 2006

FP Code -- On September 13, Fujitsu unveiled a new type of "invisible" barcode, called FP (Fine Picture) code, which allows data to be embedded directly into color print photographs. FP code consists of a series of faint yellow lines -- said to be invisible to the naked eye -- which are overlaid on the photograph during the printing process. Once encoded, a photograph can retain its original quality while serving as an "object hyperlink" to websites that users can access via mobile phone.

To use FP code, users must first download special free software to their camera-equipped phone. Then, when the camera is used to take a picture of an encoded photograph, the code is sent to a server where it is converted into URL data, which is used to connect the user's mobile phone to the corresponding website. Text, video and audio content can then be delivered directly to the user's phone.

The first examples of FP code will reportedly begin to appear in Japanese catalogs and magazine advertisements as early as October. If FP code is what Fujitsu claims it is, we may soon bear witness to the disappearance of unsightly barcodes and QR code (2D code) from print material.

One thing, though. If FP code is invisible, how will anyone know where to point their camera?

[Sources: Asahi Shimbun and Fujitsu press release]

“I” robot: train station employee of the future

28 Aug 2006

JR's I robotEast Japan Railway Company (JR East) has become the world's first railway company to develop a humanoid robot guide. JR East spent two years working with a Japanese robot manufacturer to develop the droid, nicknamed "I" (which stands for "information"), who the company is now grooming for employment at train stations.

I stands 120 centimeters (4 ft) tall, weighs 50 kilograms (110 lbs) and is equipped with a Suica card (JR's rechargeable contactless train pass) reader on its shoulder and a touch screen on its chest that can display a variety of data. The robot moves around on wheels and is nimble enough to spin around in place.

I's future duties include providing assistance at customer service windows, performing security patrols around stations at night, and assisting station workers with other duties as needed.

As of now, the robot's reception skills include the ability to read Suica cards held near its shoulder and ring telephones to notify representatives of customers in need. The robot can also show customers to reception areas and it can point the direction to the restrooms if asked. Face and voice recognition skills allow it to carry on simple conversations with the people it encounters.

The robot was subjected to about 10 days of testing at JR's research facility in Saitama City at the end of July. However, the droid did not perform very well in the tests, receiving poor marks for awkward and slow movements.

Being awkward and slow does not appear to be a major obstacle to I's employment prospects, though. For the time being, it seems that the robot will get by on charm. "Customers find the robot entertaining," says JR East research director Takashi Endo. "There are still a number of issues that we need to address, but it can be used to create some amusement in the stations."

[Source: Asahi Shimbun]

RFID-based retail support system to be tested

26 Jan 2006

On January 25, Fujitsu, AEON and Dai Nippon Printing announced plans to conduct a trial run of a retail support system that uses IC tags and data display terminals. In this retail service system of the future, customers will be able access a variety of product information by electronically reading tags placed on supermarket shelves. The trial run will be conducted at Jusco supermarket (Yachiyo-midorigaoka branch) for a five-week period beginning February 6, in Yachiyo City, Chiba.

The trial run is part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry?s 2005 "Japan Future Store Project," featuring a series of trial demonstrations of electronic tag applications aimed at realizing retail services of the future. The store will be outfitted with 25 "shopping navi-carts" equipped with tag readers and data display terminals, and IC tags will be attached to approximately 500 selected food items.

Shoppers will be able to view a variety of information, ranging from product descriptions and instructions to video commercials, by holding the tag reader near the tags. The equipment will also assist shoppers in locating specific products within the store. When carts are moved to specified locations, promotional information and other data related to the relevant product category will be delivered to the data terminals.

Customers using the system will be asked to complete surveys after they finish shopping. Technical issues and other side effects, such as whether or not customers purchased more when using the carts, will also be studied.

Each company will play a specific role in the trial run. Aeon will run the experiment in the store, review the content, and link the trial system with the existing system. Fujitsu will handle project management, provide administrative support, configure the system, and provide the navi-cart data terminals and software. Dai-Nippon Printing will create content and provide programming support.

[Source: Nikkei BP]