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Floor-cleaning robot in Japanese office building can ride the elevator, leave early

Laura June
12.05.08
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It might not look like much, but this little... er, big guy is a robot recently developed and employed by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd and Sumitomo Corporation in Osaka City, Japan to clean their floors. Now we've seen plenty of service robots that love to clean, some even professionally, but this one, operated by Reibi, is especially full-featured. Based on a robot developed in Tokyo in 2001, the updated version has laser sensors for detecting and avoiding obstacles. It's also been outfitted with light transmission devices which allow it to communicate with the elevators (also modified), so that it can travel between floors all on its own. As an icing on this deliciously fastidious cake, the robot can be equipped with cameras that record its entire shift, just to make sure its not falling asleep on the job. Should it ever miss a crumb on the floor or something, we also assume that it can fire itself, head out for a drinking binge, and spiral into an inevitable, lonely depression.

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