Robots on wheels latest Hitachi project
Hitachi's robots on wheels, above, avoids obstacles, responds to simple voice commands and reads the weather forecast.
The 150-pound, 51-inch-tall robots, nicknamed Pal and Chum, are equipped with digital cameras and radar sensors, allowing them to avoid obstacles with a reaction time of one-tenth of a second.
They don't have legs but zip around on two wheels at the speed of a slow jog. They appear a bit wobbly but manage to balance themselves and won't fall, even if nudged gently.
One showed it can raise its arm upon command. It also swiveled in a circle, gave directions to the bathroom and read the weather forecast.
"My name is Pal, which means friend," the mouthless robot said in Japanese in a soft electronic voice.
The machine was developed for display at the World Exposition, which opens this month in the central Japanese city of Aichi. Hitachi officials hope to rent or sell such robots within six years.
Kansas senator earns U.S. chamber award
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Enterprise Award for his support of pro-business legislation.
The chamber recognizes individuals based on rankings it gives members of Congress for key business votes explained in the chamber's annual publication, "How They Voted."
Roberts earned a 100 percent score with the chamber last year. Key votes for 2004 included medical liability reform, the U.S.-Australia free trade agreement, pension reform and tax relief.
"I am honored to received this award from the chamber," Roberts said. "I always try to back legislations that will help create jobs, increase productivity and strengthen the economy in Kansas."
Name that company
I was founded in a poor region of Sweden in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, whose initials form part of my name. Ingvar got his start buying matches in bulk as a child and resell them individually, before later moving on to selling seeds, fish and ballpoint pens. I issued my first catalog in 1951 and began designing my own wares in 1955. Today I'm a private company, with 400 million shoppers visiting my 201 stores annually. Many of my products require some assembly, but my meatballs require none. I offer "affordable solutions for better living." Who am I?