The Japan Times Online: “A venture business in Tokyo said Tuesday it will market at the end of 2004 a doll-size humanoid robot for roughly 500,000 yen as one of the first humanoid robots to be offered to general consumers.

A ZMP Inc. employee demonstrates nuvo, a humanoid robot, during a news conference in Tokyo.

The 39-cm-tall, 2.5-kg robot, named nuvo, will come in the wake of the releases of consumer-oriented robot dogs such as Sony Corp.’s AIBO.

ZMP Inc., which developed nuvo, said it started accepting orders Tuesday from research institutes for a 3 million yen model developed for them, and will sell a mass-production model for general consumers.

Nuvo, which can walk, stand up and react to human speech, also features remote control technology used in NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s FOMA mobile phones.

If consumers want to use the robot as a house-sitter, they can program its camera to photograph their homes and send the images to a mobile phone, said ZMP, which calls itself the world’s first venture specializing in humanoid robot development.

ZMP said the robot wears special shoes that were developed in a tieup with sporting goods maker Mizuno Corp. The shoes act as shock absorbers, it said.

Previously released humanoid robots such as ASIMO, developed by Honda Motor Co., and Sony’s QRIO, have been used in publicity events and are not sold to general consumers.”