Admittedly the project is extremely ambitious and there are many problems However, it is interesting to note that Willis has already sold 3 prototypes that were destined for delivery in late 2004. Willis is optimistic of being a major player in this futuristic technology that has been invested heavily by the likes of names like Honda, Fujitsu, Sony, Toyota, Takara, Omron, sega, bandai, NEC, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Tsmuck, Sanyo and Epson. The website http://www.androidworld.com/prod19.htm shows the progress of the Valerie Project and discusses the technology that is used in Valerie’s android capabilities. For speech, the AT&T speech synthesizer which is the website claims to be the most human-sounding voice available today is used. This can be tested by going to the website http://public.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php. In terms of hearing, Valerie has is biaural. Vision, is colour binocular and uses the PC207XP Color Microvideo CMOS Camera from Supercircuits at http://www.supercircuits.com/. More information on the android eyes can be found at http://www.androidworld.com/prod31.htm.
In terms of muscular movement the following muscle mechanisms are used: Pneumatics for medium muscles, hydraulics for strong muscles, steppers for small fast muscles and servos for small slow muscles.
All in all, these give Valerie the following capabilities which would make her one of the most advanced domestic robot to date:
- Muscle movements equal to a person. - Understand spoken commands (in several languages) - Speak to you in English (or several other languages) - Remember previous conversations. - Remember a daily list of chores to be done. - Perform household chores such as: - Cleaning - Clearing the table - Changing light bulbs - Doing laundry - Dusting - Lift and carry things up to 50 pounds - Picking up things - Putting things away - Painting - Setting the table - Sweeping - Washing dishes - Vaccuuming - Access the internet to do such things as: - Check stock prices - Check sports scores - Find information for you - Book plane tickets for you - Find addresses or phone numbers - Find directions - Call police in an emergency. - Call the fire department in case of fire. - Dress or undress herself. - Have a sense of touch all over like people do.
Willis is expecting the demand for personal robots to rise over the next 10 years and is keep track of all the 60 or so android projects around the world to stay ahead of the competition. He is expecting as much as 10% of US households to have home robots of some kind. That sure sounds like science fiction becoming reality. Reference http://www.cochrane.org.uk/opinion/articles/17-01-2006.php http://www.gizmag.co.uk/go/2545/ http://www.androidworld.com/prod19.htm