Japanese robotics company Tmsuk has announced its latest creation, the T63 Artemis Guard Robot. Artemis will autonomously patrol a multi-story building and report back wirelessly to security HQ if it finds anything amiss. Though not yet capable of apprehending any intruders, it is armed with several non-lethal offensive weapons such as a fluorescent paintball gun and the capability to spray a cloud of mist to temporarily blind the intruder.
Tmsuk has featured heavily in recent times in Gizmo, exhibiting several important robotic concepts and collaborating with a number of Japan's consumer electronics companies to create domestic robots for the Japanese market.
The company is now beginning to market its own robots for a range of purposes, such as the Enryu Rescue Robot and Banryu Guard Dragon for domestic use and now the Artemis which is designed to patrol commercial buildings, hospitals and other public spaces.
Artemis' development path began in March 2002 as an R&D project, and in April 2003 the company showed the T62 prototype to the media - a patrol robot with much the same functionality as the Artemis.
Once the T62 had been evaluated, several changes were made to the functionality, most notably the addition of the ability to recognise humans and a flame sensor/smoke sensor.
Then the T62 prototype was completely reworked to make it smaller, lighter, and faster with a view to increasing the operating time per battery charge. The initial T63 specification lists Artemis as 157 cm tall, 66 cm wide, 82 cm deep with a weight of 100 kilograms.
Perhaps by design and perhaps by coincidence, the new T63 has come in at exactly eight hours per charge - the standard working day for the majority of security guards.
In the transition from the T62 prototype to the T63 (Artemis) production model, the machine became much quieter and stable when moving.
Once loaded with the requisite map of its patrol territory, it can circulate through the building using the lifts to move between floors in exactly the same way that a human does - by pressing the button for the floor it requires to go to and driving itself around via two independently controlled wheels at around 3.5 kmh. There are four wheels in total.
If Artemis comes across a circumstance which requires a human decision, it alerts the security office wirelessly and the human security officer can see what's happening in the robot's vicinity by way of video cameras it contains. If necessary, T63 can be controlled remotely and the human security guard can communicate with any intruders remotely through Artemis' in-built speakers, microphone and video camera. This can also be achieved from outside the building via a 3G mobile telephone.
Artemis will hit the market in April and can be leased for around JPY3 million (AUD$35,000) per year which includes maintenance and insurance and several Japanese security companies will offer Artemis' services as an all-inclusive package including set-up and monitoring.
Artemis will make its public debut at the Koto Ku Security Show in Tokyo in March 2004.