Toyota has unveiled two new robots, a “Mobility Robot” and a “Violin-playing Robot”, which could become very useful at Christmas in years to come.
The Mobility Robot provides transport in places where conventional wheeled vehicles would fail, including steps, making it the ideal aid for all those hours of Christmas shopping.
The Mobility Robot can move at speeds of up to 4mph - human walking pace - and travel up to a distance of 13 miles on one hour of battery charge. In addition to being able to transport its owner, it can also follow people and avoid obstacles, allowing it to function as a porter, leaving the owner’s hands free at the New Year sales.
The Violin-playing Robot is capable of performing a variety of tasks with its hands and arms. Its delicacy of movement is best demonstrated by the fact it can play the violin. It can achieve vibrato on a violin similar to that created by humans, enabling it to play all the classic Christmas carols.
The 1.5-metre tall Violin-playing Robot, equipped with a total of 17 joints in each of its hands and arms, uses precise control and coordination to achieve human-like agility. It could also be used to assist with domestic duties or nursing and medical care.
These newest additions to the Toyota Partner Robot family are being developed to support people’s everyday life but unfortunately you won’t be able to purchase them for this Christmas. Toyota hopes to have these and other Toyota Partner Robots on sale in the early 2010s.
Toyota Partner Robots are envisioned to assist people in four main fields: domestic duties, nursing and healthcare, manufacturing and short-distance personal transport.
Toyota is primarily focussing on technology that works in harmony with people, such as assistance devices that can help move heavy instruments in a factory, on mobility technology for autonomous movement, on full-body coordination for walking and jumping, and on tool manipulation.Published 7 December 2007