Though best known for making cars, Toyota have been involved in robotics for years, though most media attention has gone towards its efforts to create humanoid robots. The company’s recently unveiled version is its third-generation robot, T-HR3, which uses a virtual reality (VR) system to remotely control the robot.
Toyota have created a system called the ‘Master Manoeuvring System’ that combines an HTC Vive headset with a data glove and haptic force feedback along with torque servos to control the T-HR3 robot and allow it to mimic a human range of movement. The T-HR3 has 16 controls that are capable of commanding 29 robot parts, allowing the robot to move in a smooth manner comparable to human movement, and allowing the operator a comfortable user experience.
The robot was built by Toyota’s Partner Robot Division, who created it to test the possibility of humanoid robots to assist humans in areas such as medical facilities, construction sites, disaster areas, or even in space, to protect humans for areas and tasks which could prove harmful.
The robot stands 5 feet, 1 inch tall, and weighs 165 pounds. Human operators sit in a specialised rig to control the robot, and can move the robot forwards by simply walking in place. The robot has a balance control system to prevent it from falling over it it bumps into something.
“The Partner Robot team members are committed to using the technology in T-HR3 to develop friendly and helpful robots that coexist with humans and assist them in their daily lives,” said Akifumi Tamaoki, general manager of Toyota’s robots. “Looking ahead, the core technologies developed for this platform will help inform and advance future development of robots to provide ever-better mobility for all.”
Toyota’s robot will be showcased at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo between 29th November to 2nd December, 2017. A video demonstration of the robot is available to view below.
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