Toyota shows off its third generation humanoid robot
New platform focuses on safely assisting humans in a variety of settings, such as at home, medical facilities, disaster-stricken areas and even outer space.
Toyota Motor Corporation is pushing the limits of robotic technology by releasing the third generation of its humanoid robot, T-HR3.
The robotics platform, which was designed and developed by Toyota’s Partner Robot Division, will explore new technologies for safely managing physical interactions between robots and their surroundings. The team also hopes to develop a new remote maneuvering system that mirrors user movements to the robot.
The company had previously explored robotics platforms to test the precise positioning of joints and pre-programmed movements. However, this new evolution focuses on safely assisting humans in a variety of settings, such as the home, medical facilities, construction sites, disaster-stricken areas and even outer space.
“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,” explains said Akifumi Tamaoki, General Manager, Partner Robot Division. Going forward, Tamaoki anticipates the core technologies developed for this platform will help inform and advance future development of robots to provide ever-better mobility for all.
T-HR3 humanoid robot is controlled from a Master Maneuvering System. The entire body of the robot can be operated instinctively with wearable controls that map hand, arm and foot movements to the robot. The operator uses a head-mounted display showing the robot’s perspective.
The system was created with master arms and legs, giving the operator full range of motion of the robot’s corresponding joints and the ability walk in place in the chair to move the robot forward or laterally. The Self-interference Prevention Technology embedded in T-HR3 operates automatically to ensure the robot and user do not disrupt each other’s movements.
Onboard T-HR3 and the Master Maneuvering System, motors, reduction gears and torque sensors (collectively called Torque Servo Modules) are connected to each joint. These modules communicate the operator’s movements directly to T-HR3’s 29 body parts and the Master Maneuvering System’s 16 master control systems for a smooth, synchronized user experience. This technology measures the force exerted by and on T-HR3 as it interacts with its environment and then conveying that information to the operator using force feedback.
T-HR3’s core capabilities include Flexible Joint Control, to control the force of contact the robot makes with any individuals or objects in its surrounding environment; Whole-body Coordination and Balance Control, to maintain the robot’s balance if it collides with objects in its environment; and Real Remote Maneuvering, to give users seamless and intuitive control over the robot.
One of the key functions the team will be look for is how safely and precisely the robot interacts with the environment. This will have broad implications for future robotics research and development.