NEC has developed a mobile personal robot designed to interact with people in their homes.
The robot, code named R100, will be able to recognise people, understand voice commands and talk with users.
Researchers at NEC developed the R100 to provide a "simple, more intuitive interface for people with computers and other technology around them" and is seen by NEC as the future of computing in the home.
The prototype robot has two cameras for "eyes" that provide a stream of visual data enabling it to recognise people. Three microphones provide "ears" to detect voices and understand speech so the R100 can turn its head and body to face the direction of the voice.
Internet communications capability is incorporated into the unit allowing users to send video email messages just by speaking to the robot. NEC suggests this will make it possible to "tutor children or to provide remote care for sick or disabled people".
A spokesman for NEC said, "The development is still in an early stage at the moment but I think there is a lot of potential. Through voice recognition it will be able to do a variety of tasks, although details are still to be considered."
He admitted that it would be some time before an actual product comes to market.
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