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In Japan, a robot to monitor schools, intruders et al

Amid declining birthrate and growing concerns about security, the country's service industry is now taking to robot development.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 14:29 IST

Robot development is rapidly progressing in the Japan service industry, amid declining birthrate and growing concerns about security.

A 1.3 meter tall humanoid robot named "Enon", designed by Fujitsu Ltd while standing in front of a large supermarket in Yachiyo, not only helped attract customers but also provided services, officials operating the supermarket said.

Based on the performance of Enon, the officials have decided to use more robots. In October at Secom Co's headquarters in Tokyo, a self-propelled four-wheeled robot, which is 1.2 meters long and 1.1 meters high, sprayed a large cloud of white smoke and made a loud noise when a suspicious person approached.

The major security company is using the robot, Secom Robot X, to patrol and watch large premises such as schools and factories. Equipped with a sensor and a camera, the robot keeps an eye out for intruders.

It can also be used to extinguish fire as it is equipped with a flame sensor and fire extinguisher. Although the robot costs 300,000 yen to rent per month and at least 4.5 million yen must be spent to design a route for it to patrol, it is still cheaper than hiring round-the-clock security guards. The Fuji Chimera Research Institute, a private market research company, said the market for these types of robots made up 7 billion yen in 2004 and will expand to 55 billion yen in 2010.

First Published: Jan 31, 2006 14:29 IST