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RoboPorter Carries Your Baggage, Guides You
RoboPorter, a friendly mobile robot, will carry your bags. RoboPorter uses a front-mounted camera to see where it is going; it also has an ultrasonic sensor to make sure that no people are standing in the way, and it is safe to move.
(Roboporter carries your bags)
RoboPorter is about four feet tall and is able to carry about forty pounds of baggage. Tests on usability are currently being conducted in Kitakyushu Airport.
To use RoboPorter, you must stand respectfully in front of it and state your destination (in Japanese). For example, you might tell RoboPorter that you want to go to the taxi stand.
(Roboporter listens to your destination)
Once you have been guided to the taxi stand, RoboPorter stands by patiently as you take your bags. Then, it's mission completed, RoboPorter heads back inside the terminal to find someone else to help.
I think that John Brunner had this same idea pretty firmly in mind in his 1975 novel Shockwave Rider. Consider the autoporter:
...he nabbed an autoporter and - after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank - credded the minimum: $35 for an hour's service...
From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled, down to the whimper it was programmed to utter at the 55-minute mark, and the howl at 58...
(Read more about Brunner's autoporter)
We're going to have these cool robots by the time I need them; take a look at these other efforts at luggage movers:
Via Guide Robot RoboPorter.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/12/2008)
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