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New Porter Robot - Matsushita Mechanorg

Matsushita is demonstrating it's porter robot; at 130 cm in height and 60 cm wide, it is able to carry about 20 kilograms of cargo.


(Matsushita porter robot)

The cool thing about this robot is that the user carries a small transponder that tells the porter robot where its user is at all times. The porter robot lets you place your baggage on its shelf, and then will follow you where ever you go.

Here's the research abstract:

;We are considering safe and reliable life-assist robots to coexist with human. First of all, we decided to develop a tool type robot that carry out a single task, and call it "Mechanorg" that is a coined word of "Mechanical" and "Organism". And we developed "Porter Robot" as one of the Mechanorg concept robots. It can carry baggage with following its user and avoiding obstacles safely at the airports...

The robot detects user's position by the supersonic wave, and knows the shape and distance of obstacle by infrared ray sensor and supersonic wave sensor. The robot calculates the best motion in environment, so the robot can follow safely without losing sight of user.

The porter robot has an omnidirectional camera and other sensors for measuring range, determining the best way around obstacles, and collision avoidance. The nickel hydride batter provides about an hour of use.

Update 07-Jul-2021: See the porter televox robot from On Board the Martian Liner (1931) by Miles J. Breuer.

The great, ungainly figure of the porter stalked down the corridor from the left. Gently it helped the fat man to his feet and picked up his traveling-bags and the two of them departed into the gloom of the ship.

The porter was a size No. 3 televox-robot. He stood six and a half feet high, and moved with a curious croaking sound.

End update.

Regular technovelgy readers know of my fascination with the autoporter robot from John Brunner's wonderful 1975 novel Shockwave Rider. It won't be long before you'll be able to rent something like this at any airport.

Matsushita has some competition; check these bots out:

Via RobotWatch; the site also has some videos you can download showing the porter robot in action.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/12/2008)

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