Toyota's Human Support Robot - Your Robot Butler

Toyota's new robot butler - descriptively named the Human Support Robot - has been designed to assist the elderly and the disabled to lead more independent lives.


(Toyota's Human Support Robot - a Robot Butler)

...the robot weighs 70 lbs and is capable of holding objects that weigh up to 2.6 lbs with its simple two-fingered gripper. Designed for use indoors, the robot travels at a max speed of 1.8 miles per hour. It can overcome bumps in the floor up to 0.3 inches (enough to traverse from hardwood to carpet) and can climb slopes up to 5 degrees. Although not specifically mentioned in the press release the robot appears to have both a Prosense (Microsoft Kinect) sensor and stereo cameras in its head, which would allow it to sense depth and visually identify people and objects.

Toyota has been testing the HSR with the cooperation of the Yokohama Rehabilitation Center since 2011, with patients providing feedback on the robot's design. The company will be demonstrating the robot to the public from 26- 28 September at Tokyo Big Sight as part of the "bleeding edge development of health care equipment" project.

Update 17-Oct-2012: Click the link to take a look at the Human Support Robot video, showing the robot in action. End update.

Science fiction fans have been practicing clear diction to order robots around for more than a half-century. Readers may recall the butler-valet robot from William Tenn's 1951 short story The Jester:

The man in the visored helmet inserted a convoluted length of iridium - an official Robot Master Key - into the back of the robot's neck. Two full clanking turns and the machinery purred. Eyebrow ridges clinked upward. Multi-linked lips pursed questioningly.

"My fiancee, Josephine Lilly... designed it," Lester told him proudly. "Her idea of what a butler-valet combo should look like - sort of in the ancient English tradition..."
(Read more about William Tenn's butler-valet robot)

I couldn't find any videos showing Toyota's Human Support Robot [fixed! see above], however, here are links to three different robot butler videos:

From Toyota (Japanese) via Gizmag.

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