Up-to-date robots at a glance
Up-to-date robots at a glance
  • 송혜원 기자
  • 승인 2007.10.09 00:00
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▲ From left to right: Samsung's robot vacuum cleaner Hauzen VC-RS62, Sony's AIBO 310 series, and KT URC robot Cupid.

      You are about to take a plane at the Incheon airport but you are lost. You feel nervous and are on the verge of panic. On your way to look for the information desk for help, you see a robot strolling across the floor. Patting the back or the shoulder of the robot, it greets you with a friendly “hello” and shows its tummy where a screen displays all the information you need.

      This is not a scene from a science fiction movie, but is a robot operates at the Incheon airport, providing help to passengers with arrival and departure schedules, transportation needs, amenities, as well as immigration and custom processes. Interacting with robots in your daily life is not a distant, futuristic imagination anymore. Following are some examples of contemporary robots and their use in our daily lives.

Outdoor Service Robot

      Like the robot guiding people at the Incheon airport, there are other robots to provide service to the public. From the end of October to the end of December 2007, the Ministry of Information and Communication will promote a second trial robot business that provides public services such as guidance and information services, restaurant guiding services, security service, and administrative services. Such robots are called URC, or Ubiquitous Robotic Companion, so named because they offer necessary services to people whenever and wherever they are. With these robots, people can access the internet, play games, and get useful information outdoors or in public places. If this trial robot business proves to be successful, seeing and interacting with robots will become more routine.

Domestic Robot

      Domestic robots are primarily for household chores but in a broader sense, they can include any robot that can be used in the home. Robotic mops, vacuum cleaner, and irons are few of the many household feasible chores a robot could complete. Among these, robotic vacuum cleaners are the most popular in Korea, which costs between 300,000 to 600,000 won. Home automation programs are another system controlled essentially by built-in robots. Many advertisements for newly built apartments show features such as light and climate control and automatic window shutters.

Entertainment Robots

Although entertainment robots can be used at home, they are not designed strictly for utilitarian use but for emotional interaction. For example, pet robots meet the needs of people who seek comfort and companionship. AIBO, a pet dog made by Sony, is one of such popular pet robots, that is able to walk and perceive its environment, and is able to learn and mature based on external stimuli. There are also humanoid robots that fulfill entertainment purposes, including Sony's QRIO and Wow Wee's RoboSapien, which are capable of advanced features like voice recognition or walking. Recently, Mitsubishi made a humanoid robot targeting the elderly that provides them with company.

Educational Robots

Some majors related to computer and engineering are already using educational robots in their curriculum. Soon robots, however, will appear in elementary school classrooms as well. Yujin Robot and Dasa Robot are the leading robot companiesin Korea, which recently developed educational robots for children. iRobiQ by Yujin Robot has features such as story telling, English teaching, singing childrens songs and home monitoring. Genibo by Dasa Robot is a pet dog that is capable of understanding 100 instructions. These robots will be able to assist teachers in kindergarten or serve as digital textbooks for children.

Security Robots

      Robots on patrol 24/7 are being spotlighted as the next generation of security, superseding current CCTV systems that have limited capabilities. Targeting the 2008 Olympic held in Beijing, security robots made by a Korean company, DU Robot, will be used to guard Olympic stadiums. These robots, which are able of climbing steep stairs, checking for any signs of acts of terror, and sensing suspicious activities, taking photo that are immediately monitored. Additionally, robots are able to dispose of explosives in compact places.

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