Everyone is familiar with Bandai as a world famous toy manufacturer, but outside of Japan very few people are aware of the accomplishments of the Bandai Robot Laboratory lead by Yoshinori Haga. Bandai has been a long term sponsor of major robot events here in Japan including the ROBO-ONE and Micromouse organizations, among others.
Their robot product lines, like the TansorBorg robot kit, have delighted and educated budding robot students for many years. Product evolution upgraded the TansorBorg concept to become the Net Tansor robot complete with remote control and video monitoring capability. Now Bandai has partnered with Evolution Robotics to add remote telepresence functionality to the robot.
According to the Bandai/Evolution Robotics press release, the new Net Tansor robot configuration will include the ViPR visual pattern recognition technology developed by Evolution:
"Users can access NetTansor remotely from the Internet, drive it around their home to check on pets while away on vacation, or even create programs for NetTansor to run entirely on its own, such as having NetTansor patrol their house and automatically send pictures to their mobile phone based on what it sees."
Before people jump to the conclusion that the new robot will be like a personal RoboCop protecting their home, we should point out that the Net Tansor robot is relatively small. According to the specifications it's 12 inches high, and part of that may include the robot's communication antenna. You can get a feel for the relative size of the robot from the video clip below that was recorded a few weeks ago here in Japan. Here's how Bandai is positioning the robot:
"Standing at 12 inches tall, NetTansor features a three-wheel driving base, integrated video camera, microphone and speaker, along with a built-in wireless card and antenna. When connected to the Internet through a standard home wireless network, users can remotely access the NetTansor from any computer on the web."