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ALSOK's new advertising robot

ALSOK's new advertising robot An9-PR is going on sale today. The new robot is a step away from the Japanese company's core themes of "reducing the burden of security guards" and "responding to labor shortages due to the aging society with fewer children", however the new robot's features sound quite compelling.

A 360 degree electronic billboard and three LCD touch screens as well as a voice announcement system allow to advertise products. The robot is equipped with face recognition and wireless connectivity, which also allows it to communicate with mobile phones. It is aware of its location, which means it can send you suitable coupons and other information to your mobile phone when you meet it in the cereal aisle. The robot's hands are equipped with a FeliCa smart card reader, the de facto smart card standard in Japan, paving the way for many integrated online services including electronic money. Finally, the package also includes an easy information management system to quickly update all advertising features from a remote PC.

As we've pointed out in a previous post, telepresence robots may be the next big thing and ALSOK is not taking any chances: In addition to its advertising features, An9-PR also includes live remote video and voice communication, allowing it to double as a promoter for supermarket food sampling or as a security guard.

ALSOK's three year sales target for this new robot is 50 units. The standard price for your An9-PR is set at 10,436,000 yen ($110,000).

PS: An9-PR's brothers An9-RR and security robot D1 were released earlier this year (some video action here).

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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