Published September 27, 2012
Face it, people are so 20th century.
Toyota has unveiled a Human Support Robot (HSR) that was developed to assist organic beings faced with mobility issues. The cylindrical automaton can adjust its height and features a single arm capable of grabbing objects with a two-fingered hand, or picking them up using a small vacuum hidden within it.
Controlled by voice commands or a tablet that apparently docks to its forehead like the card of a poker player in the middle of a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, HSR is meant to take the idea of a service dog to the next level and can also communicate with family and live caregivers. Several of the robots have already been field tested in people’s homes.
HSR is the latest “partner robot” prototype that Toyota has been working on over the past few years as it looks to address the issue of an aging population and move into new technology segments. Honda has made similar strides with its humanoid line of Asimo robots, which are now capable of hopping on one leg and running.
But don’t worry about going to sleep at night with one of these in your home. Toyota says HSR’s moving parts were designed with a light touch for safety reasons and are not capable of generating a large amount of force. Not harming humans is the first law of robots, after all.
Nevertheless, with California and Nevada legalizing the use of autonomous cars like Google’s fleet of Toyota Priuses on public roads, it seems there will soon be no where left to hide from Akio Toyoda’s legions of mechanical servants.
Isaac Asimov would be so proud.