The rise of the machines shows no sign of slowing down, with Toyota having created a humanoid robot that can mimic human movements.
But unlike the Terminator, Toyota’s T-HR3 bot is actually controlled remotely by a human sat in a seat come chunky virtual reality kit called the Master Maneuvering System .
With braces that strap to a person’s arms and sensors connected to every joint, the Master Maneuvering System tracks a wearer’s movements and transfers them to the robot, allowing it to copy arm movements.
Sensors also connect to the human’s feet which allow them to make the robot walk forwards or sideways by mimicking the person’s leg movements.
A VR headset picks up camera feeds from the robot’s face allowing for it to be controlled even when it’s out of sight.
This all may seem like high-tech kit for the sake of it, but the idea behind the T-HR3 is that it can be used to go into environments that are hazardous to humans or can carry out skilled tasks remotely, for example in medical situations where a skilled clinician is not available in person but does have access to the T-HR3. Toyota even envisions its robot being used in “outer space”, controlled remotely by people back on earth.
Akifumi Tamaoki, Toyota’s general manager of its partner robot division, noted the company’s work on robots like T-HR3 is all about bringing humans and machines closer together, rather than present robots as threats to jobs and society.
“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. 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,” said Tamaoki.
While we doubt that you’ll be able to get your hands on a T-HR3 anytime soon, we’d like to entertain the thought that one day the system could be used to create a form gladiatorial battles between human controlled robots, making the BBC’s Robot Wars pale in comparison.
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