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Nuvo, the Walking Robot

Tokyo-based ZMP has announced Nuvo, a human-shaped walking robot they plan to mass produce and offer commercially by the end of 2004. The walking, remote-controllable robot can pick itself up and send images of its surroundings, but it's not clear whether this level functionality will be judged useful enough to justify its US$6000 price tag, or whether this will be mostly a curiosity / novelty product.

I suppose the robot could used as a remote home sentry, though I'm not sure how the utility of that function compares with that of other, commercially-available, and far less expensive, robots, e.g., the Roomba vacuum-cleaning robot, which retails for US$200, or the RoboMower lawn-mowing robot, which retails for US$700). Nuvo appears to occupy a space somewhere between Sony's AIBO Entertainment Robot (US$1600) and QRIO (not offered for sale). A recent report says that Sony has sold approximately 100,000 AIBOs (over 95% to Japanese customers), so perhaps my definition of utility, or analysis of relative costs and benefits, is too narrow.

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