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Posted : 2007-05-18 16:05
Updated : 2007-05-18 16:05

Robot Keeps Home Safe


Two-legged walking humanoid Rogun poses with a child.
/ Courtesy of KornTech
By Kim Tae-gyu
Staff Reporter

A Korean venture start-up has developed the country's first humanoid that recognizes people through embedded cameras and high-end face-tracking software.

KornTech, headquartered in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, said Friday that the 1-meter-tall robot, named Rogun, can walk on two feet and perform various functions suitable for a security guard or nanny.

``Rogun is capable of guarding homes around the clock _ the camera-eyed robot will give a warning to its owner via cell phone when strangers visit an empty house,'' KornTech CEO Lee Dong-hwan said.

``In addition, the handset-directed humanoid can show what is happening with kids at home when their parents are away, as it is connected to the wireless Internet,'' Lee said.

Lee said Rogun will be able to play with children by showing video footage on a seven-inch liquid-crystal display monitor placed on its chest.

``A computer is incorporated into Rogun, and so, its owner can access the Internet through the bi-pedal walker,'' Lee said.

``People can also enjoy video calls on Rogun's monitor when the recipients or callers use third-generation handsets which are being introduced across the country,'' Lee said.

Currently, KornTech produces the robot only after receiving orders, so its price is prohibitively high _ more than $100,000 each. Yet, Lee predicted the price could go down to lower than $5,000 in the not-so-distant future when mass production begins.

Rogun is the nation's first two-legged robot achieved through private funding. KornTech channeled around $1 million to create it over the past two years.

Rogun demonstrates Korea's robotic competitiveness as the nation's history of building bi-pedal robots stretches back to just three years ago when a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) designed one.

The humanoid is named Hubo and the KAIST team seeks to make the self-regulated robot walk with a more human-like gait and give it the ability to climb up stairs.

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