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China's 1st household robot by 2005

June 25, 2005 12:05 IST

China's first humanoid robot, which can perform some household chores, including providing security, is expected to be available by the end of the year, a media report said on Saturday.

The Harbin Institute of Technology in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province is developing a humanoid robot designed exclusively for family use, Professor Hong Bingrong, who is in-charge of the programme, said.

The half-metre-tall wheeled robot can talk, do the vacuuming and guard the house. It can clean a 30-square-metre room within 20 minutes using its built-in vacuum cleaner.

With ultrasonic and other sensors around its body, "it can carefully avoid obstacles and will not hit people or furniture in the room," Hong was quoted as saying by China Daily.

The robot can also distinguish people using voice and image recognition systems.

"He will be friendly when he meets an acquaintance and will sound an alarm when he meets somebody he doesn't recognise," Hong said.

The robot can also tell its owner if certain domestic emergencies are happening. "Basically, its intelligence is like a child of seven or eight years," Hong said. It can even be programmed to know where to recharge itself once its battery gets low.

The whole idea of the design and development of the domestic robot is based on the "self-navigation" technology Hong and his colleagues developed after forming a Robot-Soccer Player Research Group at HIT eight years ago.

The robot's market price will be between 10,000 and 30,000 yuan ($1,200-3,600).

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