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Space Robot Knows Your Mood

The "space robot" is the result of research done at SGI Japan, Ltd., a Tokyo provider of visualization solutions and high-end workstations. They've been thinking about the rest of the office.

The idea of the space robot is that the room itself is the robot.

"When people hear the term 'robot,' they often think of those such as ASIMO, a humanoid robot developed by Honda Motor Co., or robots in Japanese animations," said Hiroshi Otsuka, SGI Japan's vice president for strategic business development.

"But we believe that we definitely need different types of robot in terms of their shapes and their roles in our life. Hints can be found in films such as 'Knight Rider,' 'Star Wars' and '2001: A Space Odyssey.' "

For example, in a meeting room, if a user says "Let's start a presentation," the room adjusts the lighting, lowers the window blinds and sets up the screen for the presentation.


(The "space robot" cools things down)

Using its sensibility technology (ST), the room can analyze the tone and rhythm of the voices of the people in the room to understand their feelings. It is capable of identifying six basic human feelings: laughter, calmness, sorrow, anger, joy and excitement -- and the degree of each emotion.

If it can tell that the discussion has become to heated, it can alter conditions in the room to cool things down. The walls of the meeting room glows peaceful blue, and just a hint of scent (in this case, lavender) and a bit of soft jazz background help to smooth over ruffled feelings.

Science fiction fans (and most students in US schools) remember the Happylife Home from Ray Bradbury's 1951 classic The Illustrated Man. The house itself was a kind of "robot;" it watched its human occupants and adjusted conditions in the house to benefit the people:

They walked down the hall of their soundproofed Happylife Home, which had cost them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them.
(Read more about Bradbury's Happylife Home)

Perhaps SGI Japan's Otsuka is right in saying "In the 20th century, people associated high technology with great big machines. But in the 21st century, maybe they will see that the space itself can be the high-tech system without there being anything in particular in the room -- no big machines or computers or anything."

The "space robot" is one version of an emerging technology; take a look at several other examples in RoomRender Futuristic Smart Room and A Smart Home With Cyber Crumbs. Also, read a bit more about the space robot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/18/2007)

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