FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Robots and RFID... A Natural Fit?

RFID tags could be the new way to control robots, if a new product from the Japanese security firm Secom is successful.

Secom's Robot X uses RFID technology to help guard schoolchildren. The children, who wear RFID tags, are continually monitored by the robotic guard, which is instantly alerted if a child wanders out of its "safe" range. Robot X also monitors its charges through a video camera, and can even thwart a suspected intruder.

RFID-guided robots have a variety of applications, from souped-up versions of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner to robotic casino workers and librarians that can keep track of RFID-tagged casino chips and books respectively. In a warehouse filled with tagged stock, robots could take inventory and pick items. Wal-Mart is even rumored to be testing a robot that can guide visually impaired shoppers through its stores (though Wal-Mart denies this).

Source: CNET