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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New backlash for Japanese service robotics

Japanese service robot market in trouble, again. After Sony's termination of its famous robot dog AIBO in 2006, japanese service robot manufacturer Mitsubishi has decided to stop sales of its prestigious partner robot Wakamaru according to a report of Nikkei Weekly. The robot was launched in 2005 with a sales target of about a 100 robots for about $14,300 USD each. But consumers have been disappointed about features and functionality. Its voice-recognition capability was too narrow, its body too big for small Japanese homes and Internet services not good enough.

In June 2007 a rental service was launched to offer the robot for reception and communication tasks. The daily rental fee varied according to the lease length. For a lease of 1-5 days, it's 120,000 yen ($970), while 21-30 days is only 20,000 yen ($160).

The termination of Wakamaru, one of the leading edge domestic robots in Japan, raises many questions about the future of japanese service robotics?

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