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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 11:02 GMT
Sony shows off jogging robot
Qrio doing a fan dance, AFP
Qrio jogged and performed a fan dance during the demonstration
A small step for a Sony robot could turn out to be a giant leap for robotkind.

Sony has shown a new version of its Qrio robot that can jog at a top speed of 14 metres per minute.

Running is a much more difficult task for a robot to perform as both of the machine's feet must be off the floor at the same time.

Sony said the Qrio jogging robot was the result of three years of work but that it had no plans to put it on sale like the Aibo robot dog.

Moving machine

The robot, which was previously known as the SDR, has previously been shown walking, climbing a shallow slope, kicking a ball and dancing.

Now Sony has updated the robot, which is usually shown off at trade shows and corporate events, to run slowly for a short distance.

Sony Aibo robot, AP
The Aibo has been a big hit
If the 58cm high robot were human-sized, it would be able to run at a speed of about 2.4km/h (1.5mph).

In the demonstration the robot started at a slow walk, slowly accelerated to a slow jog and then slowed down to walking speed again.

During that time both of its feet were off the ground for four one-hundredths of a second.

"As humans we find running and walking extremely easy," said Toshi Doi, Sony Executive Vice-President.

"But for a humanoid robot to run and walk may not sound that exciting, but please remember what a big surprise it was when the first bipedal robots walked."

Sony said it had to make changes to the robot's joints and central processor to make the jump and keep it upright while jogging.

Qrio has on board two digital cameras that help its learn about its surroundings and recognise up to 10 faces.

The tiny jump puts Sony ahead of Honda which has shown off its Asimo robot that, so far, can only walk.

Sony has enjoyed huge success with its Aibo robot dog and has sold more than 130,000 units of that technological pet.

The BBC's Tony Brown
"Dancing is not enough for these revolutionary machines, they can even run"

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