There's a new humanoid bot in play named WABIAN-2R that's taking Japan by storm. Well, not really, but it is walking through Japan's malls at a blistering 1.24 miles per hour. The robot has plenty of familiar characteristics to its biped brethren: it stands 58-inches tall, weighs 149 pounds, and doesn't really do anything useful. What's new is that the WABIAN-2R comes with pelvis swiveling action, allowing it to walk more like a human, with heel-to-toe strides and full extension of the leg -- most bots keep their knees bent at all time for balance. The robot, which just did its first public walking yesterday, is powered by 1.6GHz Pentium M CPU, and has a nickel hydrogen battery good for a whole 15 minutes of juice. WABIAN-2R was developed by Waseda University, and took them two years to build, costing 20,000,000 yen ($171,762 US). Waseda sees the bot as a test bed for other robotic technologies, and if our Google Translate skills haven't completely failed us, it looks like they hope to be building full-on robots from the WABIAN core in about two years. Be sure to peep the read link for all sorts of video of the bot in action.

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WABIAN-2R swivels its hips for the public