Hitachi is showing off an improved version of its Emiew humanoid robot that's better at understanding what you say and rolling over all the junk on the floor of your apartment. Those two functions may or may not be related.
According to Hitachi, Emiew 2 can now distinguish voices in a noisy setting and roll over cables and floor tiles of different heights while maintaining its balance (see the vid below).
Equipped with a 14-channel microphone system in its head, Emiew is also able to cancel out noise generated by its own innards to hear people better.
Emiew 2 is about 32 inches tall and weighs some 30 pounds. It can roll around on either two or four wheels depending on its leg position, and navigates by scanning range finder. Aided by an active suspension system, its top speed is 3.7 mph. It has 25 axes of movement.
The bot was originally released in 2007, two years after its trashcan-on-wheels predecessor.
Since Hitachi expects Emiew to be used in facilities like offices and hospitals in the future, performing duties like surveillance and guiding visitors around (see promo vid here), it has to be able to deal with floor obstacles and noise. Its official name--Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate--proves that Emiew is going to be useful one day.