Hot on the heels of Honda’s Asimo update announced this past Tuesday, Sony today introduced the world to the newest version of their humanoid robot, QRIO. The enhancements to the QRIO include an additional camera mounted in its forehead, mechanical improvements to its arms and hands, and better machine vision algorithms and AI. Like its Honda counterpart, QRIO is now able to recognize faces, colors, and stationary and moving objects.
During its debut in Ginza, Japan this morning, the 60 cm, 7.5 kg QRIO strode out on to the stage wiggling its hips in sync to the music in the background.
“Hello everyone,” it greeted the attendees in Japanese. “I am Sony’s QRIO. Let me introduce you to my new camera and improved arms.” At which point it waved its arms and wiggled its fingers to illustrate their new flexibility and range of motion.
Like Asimo, QRIO can walk and keep its balance while holding small objects. During today’s demonstration it carried and stacked a series of small, colored boxes. The new “third” eye combined with improvements to its edge-finding vision algorithms allow it to pick up a box again if it drops it and continue on with the task at hand.
Sony has no plans to make QRIO commercially available, nor do they have any intentions of putting it to work for them like Honda is planning to do with the Asimo who will begin handling light office duty early next year. However their reasons behind developing their humanoid robot are the same as Honda’s. Sony also recognizes the value that their QRIO research and development has in terms of how it can be applied to other, more practical applications.
“These technologies can someday be applied to other consumer electronics,” said Yuichi Hattori, a Sony Robot Company manager in attendance today.