Shopping Robots Crawl the Mall So You Don't Have To
Imagine having your very own shopping robot who crawls the mall while you relax at home? Even better, you remotely control your robot shopper's movements and see through its electric “eyes”. You can also stop imagining... robo-shopper is (almost) here!
“Practical robotic solutions”... now there's a tag line worthy of Futurama! Hold on a second, the future is NOW and that Bender-iffic tagline appears at Japanese robot manufacturer Tmsuk Co.'s website . You've gotta love their mission statement -- “To create safe and comfortable society in which people and robots can coexist.” See, we CAN all get along!
Case in point: the prototype TMSUK04 “shop-bot” that raised eyebrows at the Izutsuya department store in Kitakyushu, Japan this past July 10. It also raised a few hats from the store display, all the while beaming back a video feed to its operator sitting comfortably at home.
According to story-breaker Pink Tentacle, “an unwell grandmother unable to go shopping with her granddaughter sent the robot in her place. Using an NTT DoCoMo video-capable cellphone, the grandmother was able to control the robot and enjoy the shopping experience through the robot’s camera eyes.”
As the TMSUK04 is a Japanese robot, we can assume it didn't get drunk, belch fire or pick the pockets of nearby meatbags. Human shoppers, that is. The company name (Tmsuk??) could use a makeover, though... how does "Mom's Friendly Robot Company" sound?
Tmsuk has been, er, creating a safe and comfortable society through robotics since 1992 and they've come quite a ways towards making their dream a reality. In doing so, they'll also realize the dreams of mobility and participation that are currently denied to elderly, incapacitated or disabled members of society. I robot, indeed! (images via Data-Max)