Fujitsu preps Linux-based robot

From our Robo-tux correspondent


Fujitsu has launched a humanoid robot - based on a real-time version of the Linux operating system.

The HOAP-2 is driven by an Intel Pentium III running at 700MHz. It is half a metre high and weights 7kg, and is scheduled to ship to Japanese consumers in July (Fujitsu will begin taking orders next month).

We're not entirely sure what buyers will do with the thing, which lacks the aesthetic appeal of Sony's robot, also unveiled this week, the DR-4X. HOAP-2 looks like a cruder version of Honda's Asimo droid.

The metal beastie sports a USB 1.1 port - its internal network operates across USB - through which the user can download code to run on the robot, which ships with a Fujitsu PC. There's an optional 802.11b link.

Fujitsu says it will release information about the droid's control systems and software to make the machine user-programmable. All you need are C/C++ coding skills, apparently. Indeed, HOAP stands for Humanoid Open Architecture Platform.

And with its Linux foundation, can we expect a robot that not only runs The Gimp, but can paint your ceilings?

The HOAP-2 improves on Fujitsu's previous robot, HOAP-1, with a greater freedom of movement - it boasts 25 degrees of freedom, claims Fujitsu, and the next, waist and hands now move - smoother movement and more power. ®

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