Japan is a step closer to having an ideal worker who won't complain in torrential rain or on slippery floors as a company unveiled a next-generation humanoid on May 20.
Kawada Industries' HRP-3 Promet Mk-II, a 160-centimetre-tall humanoid, walked on a slippery floor scattered with sand and held out its arms under a shower before media cameras.
"We have made a leap towards creating a humanoid that works in a real environment," the firm said in a joint statement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
The visor-wearing white robot, also used a screwdriver with its right hand while leaning on its left arm, balancing itself like a human would.
The robot weighs 68 kilograms including the battery.
"Our country is rapidly ageing and it is an urgent task to develop robots that can perform tasks only done by humans now," the statement said.
"If a humanoid can substitute human functions, the entire social cost would be reduced," it said.
Kawada Industries said the company hoped eventually to put the HRP-3 Promet Mk-II to commercial use.
Project manager Takakatsu Isozumi said the company wanted to target clients such as construction contractors by 2010, with each robot costing around 150 million yen (NT$40 million) each.
"We want to increase the actions that this robot can do at construction sites, such as driving construction vehicles," he said.
Japan leads the world's robotic industries in fields ranging from manufacturing to entertainment and security. Last week, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said it would start renting out humanoids to staff front desks at offices and hospitals.
Benjamin: I just saw the coolest robot!
Jonathon: Oh yeah? What could it do?
Benjamin: It could play soccer with people and was a great goalie as well.
Jonathon: That's no small task. Are they going to let it join soccer teams?
Benjamin: Not for now, but I bet they will one day in the future!
no small task 可不是簡單的
If something is no small task, it is a difficult or time-consuming job or chore. "My boss wants me to sell four super computers today, but that's no small task. I probably won't be able to."
假如某事「 is no small task」，是困難或費時的工作或任務。例如︰「我老闆希望我今天賣四台超級電腦，但那可不容易。我大概辦不到」。
川田工業株式會社的「HRP-3 Promet Mk-II」機器人高一百六十公分，可以行走在灑滿沙子的滑地板，並在淋浴時伸出手臂，媒體攝影機全都捕捉了下來。
川田工業表示，他們希望最終能將「HRP-3 Promet Mk-II」運用於商業用途。