Osaka robotics group Vstone and Japan Remote Control are rolling out a robotic companion that could serve as a soccer player, a nanny or simply a marketing ploy. Called Tichno, the 'bot stands just over four feet tall and commands impressive balance, which helped it win last month's RoboCup Japan Open. Vstone hopes Tichno will be able to use its tested sports skills and calisthenics demonstrations to wow crowds.
Vstone also plans to add voice-recognition technology to the robot to increase its ability to interact, as well as make its $5,000-a-day rental price a little more attractive. The company is looking toward retailers and organizations that would want to pay for a Tichno as part of a marketing effort.