Lately, the humanoid robot scene has been dominated by Boston Dynamics’ Atlas. But even though Atlas may dazzle you with its backflips and unbeatable balance, it still tends to give off a serious T-800 vibe. Toyota’s new, third generation humanoid robot on the other hand, the T-HR3, that’s the kind of humanoid robot you wouldn’t worry about holding your sharpened thermite sword. Plus, it’s controlled by a user’s movements, so until it becomes sentient, at least some meat bag is in charge of it.
News of the T-HR3, which was picked up by The Verge, comes from the auto giant’s home country of Japan. In a press release, the company said that the T-HR3 demonstrates Toyota’s latest robotics platform, and will be used to “explore new technologies for safely managing physical interactions between robots and their surroundings, as well as a new remote maneuvering system that mirrors user movements to the robot.”
In terms of specs, you’re looking at a 165-pound five-foot-tall “Toyota Robot Partner” that has ten fingers, two feet and a pair of eyes that are a lot more WALL-E than they are skinless Terminator. T-HR3 is outfitted with a series of Torque Servo Modules (i.e. servomotors or “robot muscles”) that are controlled from the Master Maneuvering System, which has a headset that allows you to see out of T-HR3’s eye cameras. The whole setup looks a bit like Snuffles’ advanced mechanical suit from Rick and Morty — at least from the waist up. Although one of the previous generations of the Toyota humanoid robot, the i-Foot, really looks like something that could frighten Summer in the middle of the night.
Although we don’t see T-HR3 do anything in the teaser clip that’s nearly as exciting as what Atlas does on the regular, if it can indeed maneuver seamlessly and in real time based on inputs from its human pilot, it seems like there would be limitless applications for this bot in manufacturing, hospital services, and even home care. And yes, while that sounds kind of creepy, remember, this is the cute, harmless T-HR3. It just wants to squeeze you. Gently.
What do you think about this new Toyota robot? Do you like the idea of humanoid robots serving as avatars for people? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!
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