A few months ago we wrote of a rather odd-looking Japanese bot named "Ubiko" whose purpose was somewhat vague--"to replace humans for such tasks as welcoming clients, promote products on site." (The "replacing humans" phrase freaked us out a bit.) Now we find out its true mission: a rolling smoke detector of the future.
Ubiko doesn't just beep when your macaroni and cheese starts to burn; it actually has olfactory sensors designed specifically to react to odors associated with fire. The robot had its first public demonstration yesterday, which Pink Tentacle described thusly: "One room smelled of perfume, one smelled of garlic, one smelled of cigarettes, and one was odorless. When the robot smelled the room with ashtrays, it identified it as likely to catch fire and sent a wireless message to security."
Ubiko still can't put out the fire, but that can't be too far off. In the meantime, if there's any foul play, it can call on its cousin the "Reborg-Q" to handle the perpetrators.