NEC Corporation



Press Release
                        Media Contact: 
                        Daniel Mathieson	
                        NEC Corporation	
                        Tel: +81-3-3798-6511
                        Fax: +81-3-3457-7249
                        E-mail: d-mathieson@bu.jp.nec.com

*****For immediate use March 21st, 2001

NEC Develops Friendly, Walkin' Talkin' Personal Robot with Human-like Characteristics and Expressions


TOKYO March 21, 2001 - NEC Corporation (NEC) (NASDAQ: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l) (TSE: 6701) has developed personal robot 'PaPeRo' designed to partner people in their homes with the underlying aim of improving human-machine interface through introducing robots into our everyday lives.

NEC's new personal robot named 'PaPeRo' (name taken from 'Partner-type Personal Robot') is unlike anything seen so far in robot development, with its natural expressions and ability to remember its owners' interests and preferences. Following in line with NEC's goal of finding solutions for the "i- society", PaPeRo was designed to bring about a more natural interface with which people can easily and unconsciously benefit from the Internet.

PaPeRo can recognize 650 phrases and speak more than 3000, and with the latest image recognition technology PaPeRo has the ability to recognize peoples' faces. Though voice recognition technology PaPeRo also makes the following possible:

  • Easy access to the Internet without use of a keyboard - notifying its owner of incoming messages and giving updated information.

  • Strengthening communication channels among family members with its ability to convey video messages.

  • Interaction with its owner in various ways, such as, dancing playing games, reminding, telling the time, and remote operation of TVs and other electrical appliances in the home.

Its ability to interact naturally with people opens up a variety of application possibilities for home automation systems including: support for implementing safety measures, support for elderly, emergency communications systems, and home security. With the use of the Internet and software, the robot also makes possible a wide range of other applications, such as, tutoring children and providing remote care for sick and disabled people.

PaPeRo has been developed using the latest technologies:

  • It has two cameras for eyes that provide a stream of visual data, analyzed in real-time, enabling it to recognize people and avoid bumping into objects such as furniture.
  • Its "ears" are comprised of four microphones. Three microphones are used so the robot can detect voices, and the forth is used to understand instructions given to it from an increased select vocabulary.

  • Movement is based on mechatronics specially developed for the robot, and consists of a simplified control structure and modularized components.

  • Software technologies, such as graphical editors that enable easy programming of actions, dialogue and behaviors.

  • High-integration technology providing a stand-alone architecture.

For detailed information on NEC's personal robot, please click here: http://www.incx.nec.co.jp/robot/

For personal robot 'PaPeRo' specifications, please click here:

Background
The increasing pace of the information technology in computers and communications is proving overwhelming for some people. Despite the emergence of more and more appliances offering more convenience and functionality users must cope with increasingly complex operating instructions. From children to the elderly there is a growing voice for technology that is simpler to use.

Thanks to the advances made in semiconductor and mechatronics technologies, it has now become feasible to develop home robots. This, together with the focus and demand on the development of technology for the individual rather than "future", has meant that attention given to the development of robots has grown significantly.

NEC believes robots that live with, and have the ability to interact with humans in many different ways will open up many possibilities. NEC plans to conduct further research and development using PaPeRo in various environments and locations, not only to advance the current technology, but also to improve interaction between humans and robots.

"The aim of our research at NEC is not just to further robot technology, but to examine and develop better human-machine interface through the concept of "living with robots," said Yoshihiro Fujita, Project Manager, NEC Incubation Center.

About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l) (TSE: 6701) is a leading provider of Internet solutions, dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its customers in the key computer, network and electron device fields through its three market-focused in-house companies: NEC Solutions, NEC Networks and NEC Electron Devices. NEC Corporation, with its in-house companies, employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and saw net sales of 4,991 billion Yen (approx. US$48 billion) in fiscal year 1999-2000. For further information, please visit the NEC home page at: http://www.nec.com

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NEC Corporation