Your Imminent Robotic Future: City Livin’

Popular Mechanics columnist Daniel Wilson fills us in on some of the latest robots that could be used in U.S. cities in the near, and far, future.  First the near future:

Our streets will soon be constantly scoured by trash-addicted vacuum-bots. It’s been demonstrated already in Japan. Developed by Figla Co., “the Eye” is a substantial washing machine-sized mobile robot with a variety of sensors up top and a powerful vacuum underneath.

This cleaning ‘bot uses laser range finders and ultrasonic distance sensors to track walls and avoid people during its mission to clean up the streets. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, the Eye specializes in cleaning large public facilities (like train stations), and will be commercialized this year in Japan.

And now the far:

The Toyota Motor Corp. is working on the second-gen version of the i-foot (above), an 8-ft.-tall mechanized walker that cradles its pilot in an egg-shaped cockpit.

Unlike a car, the ostrich-like i-Foot is guided with a joystick (it places its steps autonomously, like a horse)


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