ad info

 
CNN.com  technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
TECHNOLOGY
TOP STORIES

Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


AmigoBot can be controlled over the Internet

PC World
AmigoBot
The AmigoBot E-Presence  

(IDG) -- Robots--whether they're your friends, servants, or simply machines--are a staple of science fiction. And for most people, they have remained nothing more than science fiction.

Now, though, the AmigoBot E-Presence expects to change that.

Imagine a small, bright-red, oval-shaped canister vacuum cleaner, about 2 feet by 1 foot. It has no hoses or attachments; instead it has lots of eyelike sensors and a small video camera mounted at its slightly slimmer front end. That's the basic AmigoBot, a simple remote-controlled robot. Its sensors allow it to avoid objects automatically while rolling around on its one small and two larger wheels.

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  PC World home page
  Sony to unveil new Aibo robot next week
  Robots compete for gold medals
  The robots are coming
  Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  E-Business World
  TechInformer
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletters
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

The AmigoBot doesn't stop there. It has a wireless radio modem, software for communication and control by PC, mapping and programming software, a rechargeable battery, and a program for access and control over the Internet.

So, what can you do with it? It can keep a friendly eye on at-risk elderly relatives living alone. Or it can enable brief play sessions with your pet during your lunch break, or let you play with your kids while you are on a trip, say the manufacturers.

You can also use the AmigoBot for impromptu Web conferencing: Call in, get AmigoBot to find or call the person you want, and chat. The included microphone, speakers, and camera make this easy.

And if that's not enough to convince you, you may also consider the AmigoBot a buddy. An expensive one, perhaps: AmigoBot E-Presence costs $3195 and comes with a one-year warranty. Two basic versions are also available: One without the control software and camera, but with wireless remote control costs $1795. The most basic version, controlled with a wire, costs $1495.

It's one of several recent robot introductions, and it's among the most flexible.

Rolling and Reporting

The robot has three modes of operation. You can control it directly over the Internet. The robot intelligently avoids obstacles, even if you try to make it drive into them. You can also click a spot in a map of the robot's location, and it will drive to the place you indicate. Finally, you can set the robot to wander around a building randomly. It travels as fast as 3 feet per second and can drive over small bumps like the edge of a carpet, but it cannot negotiate stairs.

The robot has eight sonar detectors as built-in obstacle detectors, in front, back, and side. The manufacturers are developing a custom I/O port so you can add sensors, such as thermal detectors or smoke detectors. Also planned is a docking station for recharging and for continuous Internet access. AmigoBot accesses the Internet through a password-protected private link-up using a VPN.

Is AmigoBot ready to challenge Robby the Robot or one of Isaac Asimov's imagined creations? Not yet: AmigoBot does not have arms. It cannot pick up objects and it cannot move objects. It also lacks built-in lasers, and it is too light to hurt anyone, even a child. World domination by machines is still only the stuff of pulp fiction.




RELATED STORIES:
Garage-based engineers unveil their wares at the Robot Games 2000
October 5, 2000
More pet robots on the way
January 26, 2000
Robotic cat, anyone?
March 25, 1999
Robots: Will they love us? Will we love them?
September 1, 2000
NEC shows off consumer robot
September 2, 1999

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Sony to unveil new Aibo robot next week
(IDG.net)
Robots compete for gold medals
(The Industry Standard)
Sony's Aibo dog to get a robot pal
(GamePro)
The robots are coming
(Computerworld)
IBM: Your handheld will hear you
(PC World)
A solution for problem users
(NW Fusion)

RELATED SITES:
ActivMedia Robotics, LLC

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.