Japanese Firms Introduce Android-based Robot

Sep 29, 2010
Tadashi Nakamichi, Nikkei Electronics
The "RIC android" is operated by Android. Its height is 120cm.
The "RIC android" is operated by Android. Its height is 120cm.
[Click to enlarge image]
A command is being sent to the RIC android.
A command is being sent to the RIC android.
[Click to enlarge image]

RT Corp and Brilliant Service Co Ltd exhibited an Android-based robot at Google Developer Day 2010, which took place Sept 28, 2010, in Tokyo, Japan.

According to the two companies, the robot, "RIC android," is the world's first robot whose control software all runs on Android.

The RIC android was developed based on RT's "RIC (robot inside character)" robot, which is used in a stuffed animal suit. The RIC android wears a suit of Droid, a character for Android. It can walk with two legs and move its hands and head.

Equipped with speakers, the RIC android can produce synthetic sounds and play music. It does not move autonomously, and commands have to sent to the robot via a wireless LAN.

"We wanted to create a service using both a robot and a cloud by exploiting the high affinity of cloud services and Android," said Yoshihiko Sugimoto, president of Brilliant Service.

For example, he plans to offer a service of delivering motion data such as motions of a specific entertainer and choreography created for a specific song and charging for the data. Also, he is considering analyzing video and audio data obtained by using a camera and microphone of a robot, storing such information in cloud networks and using it for services.

RT and Brilliant Service intend to develop a system that can extend the robot's functions by delivering motion data to it by April 2011.

This time, the two companies introduced the RIC android, which can be used in events, etc, as a first step to provide such services. They plan to rent the RIC android to other companies for a price starting from ¥525,000 (approx US$6,266) per day, expecting it to be used for promoting the sales of Android-based devices.