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"Robot maids" wouldn’t fall down from high-rise windows   

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June 21, 2000   


HONG KONG (AP) - A university says it may have found a solution to the occasional problem of window washers falling to their deaths from Hong Kong's many high-rises - a "robot maid" that will do the work.


The robots also could fill in for technicians exposed to radioactive chemicals, as well as taking up various other dirty, dangerous or boring chores in Hong Kong.


The robots can even sweep up under beds and put gasoline into cars, according to researchers at City University who are hoping to get the machines manufactured.


But Professor Tso Shiu-kit, from the school's department of manufacturing engineering, insisted Tuesday the goal is not to put human beings out of work.


"We invent robots only for chores no one want to do," he said.


There were 1,484 cases of workers falling last year in Hong Kong and 24 of them died, said Winnie Siu, a Labor Department spokeswoman who could not say how many were window washers.

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