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Toyota Unveils Helpful Human Support Robot

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the runaway-part-two dept.

Technology 64

cylonlover writes "Toyota has unveiled a new assistant robot designed to help the disabled live more independently. Called the Human Support Robot (HSR), it represents the latest initiative in Toyota's Partner Robot program and is intended to help out around the home by fetching things, opening curtains, and picking up objects that have fallen to the floor. The HSR can be controlled using a simple graphical user interface via tablet PC. It can also wear a tablet atop its head, which would allow caregivers and family members to communicate with the robot's owner over Skype or other services. But unlike recent telepresence robots including the recently announced iRobot RP-VITA, the HSR has an arm and gripper for doing the simple tasks we often take for granted."

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How long until the Sexbot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41442853)

That's where the real money would be.

Re:How long until the Sexbot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443095)

Buy one of these, then get a fleshlight and some duct tape. Some assembly required.

Re:How long until the Sexbot? (1)

dunng808 (448849) | about 2 years ago | (#41443593)

And I thought I might *add* the sey toy reference, seeing how this is /. and all. Gee, was I wrong. FP!

Re:How long until the Sexbot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41446025)

Sexbot? $10 says it'll be shaped like Hatsune Miku.

Screw that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41442929)

I'm still waiting for the paranoid android. [wikipedia.org]

Beverage option (1)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#41442951)

Is there a coffee maker attachment?

It would help society more.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41442983)

It would help society more if it actually killed them.

Re:It would help society more.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41448177)

I think Steven Hawkings will disagree.

Helpful Human Support Desk (1)

Dude163299 (906461) | about 2 years ago | (#41442995)

Thank god I read that wrong at first I saw Help Human Support I thought they were going to start redirecting people to the "helpful" robot in the corner which is as helpful as the automated call centers with limited responses and actual function.

Hybrid only? (1)

chinton (151403) | about 2 years ago | (#41443019)

Is this an all-electric robot, or have they abandoned those, too, in favor of hybrids?

Re:Hybrid only? (1, Funny)

Platinumrat (1166135) | about 2 years ago | (#41443135)

Yeah Hybrid, generating Carbon Monoxide indoors for disabled people. That would work.

Re:Hybrid only? (4, Informative)

MisterMidi (1119653) | about 2 years ago | (#41443329)

Carbon dioxide, not carbon monoxide. And given the size of the brains [wikipedia.org] , I doubt it will be much.

Re:Hybrid only? (0)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 2 years ago | (#41443603)

Replying to remove accidental downmod.

Re:Hybrid only? (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | about 2 years ago | (#41448477)

The internal combustion engine generates several types of waste gas. However, CO (Carbon Monoxide) is the one that generally kills the quickest.

http://www.health24.com/medical/Condition_centres/777-792-1461-1673,26770.asp [health24.com]

Re:Hybrid only? (1)

MisterMidi (1119653) | about 2 years ago | (#41454103)

I know about carbon monoxide. But I think you're confusing hybrid cars and hybrid robots. Hybrid cars have a combustion engine and an electric engine, while hybrid robots have a part electronic, part biological brain.

Re:Hybrid only? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41448201)

Oh can it.

There is a difference in engineering for a device that moves a few miles per hour, and only travels for hours a day, and is always nearby a charging station, and weight about a hundred lbs.

Vs.

A device that moves 80 miles per hour, travels up to 10 hours a day, will not be near a charging station and weighs a ton.

Re:Hybrid only? (1)

chinton (151403) | about 2 years ago | (#41450337)

Lighten up, Francis.

But can it pick locks? (1)

unfortunateson (527551) | about 2 years ago | (#41443035)

Go watch Robot and Frank, great movie, even if it's pretty obvious that the assistance robot is a person in a robot suit.
http://robotandfrank-film.com/ [robotandfrank-film.com]

Skype??? (0)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#41443043)

If the person is disabled enough to require the use of this robot, the caregiver should be on-site. They shouldn't NEED to use Skype to talk to the disabled person.

Re:Skype??? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41443103)

Care givers also routinely run errands for the person they are caring for which may require leaving the house. Being disabled does not mean needing to be waited on hand and foot.

Re:Skype??? (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41443239)

Being disabled does not mean needing to be waited on hand and foot.

Being disabled does not mean needing to be waited on gripper and omni-wheel.

FTFY

Re:Skype??? (1)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about 2 years ago | (#41446361)

Robots with grippers and an omni-wheel have a much more important purpose [nocookie.net] .

Re:Skype??? (1)

Tatarize (682683) | about 2 years ago | (#41446879)

Being waited on gripper and wheel doesn't make a person independent. It makes a person dependent on a robot.

Re:Skype??? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#41443499)

If someone can't do the stuff that this robot does, they're unlikely to be able to do other things unaided, such as using a toilet, etc...

Speaking from experience (my wife is disabled).

Re:Skype??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448679)

We need wafflebot. That would be the greatest wafflemaker....it hates pancakes and it doubles as an excellent security system.

protecting us... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443045)

Please contact customer support if the robot asks if you have stairs.

Re:protecting us... (1)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | about 2 years ago | (#41450007)

I am protected.

A Toyota version of "Clippy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443047)

Toyota is a Japanese company so we should refer to their version of 'Clippy" as (*in a Mike Meyers' Japanese accent) "Crippy".

Hackable? (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about 2 years ago | (#41443049)

If cheap enough, I could see this little fella being used as a successor to the doomba..

Re:Hackable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443303)

If cheap enough, I could see this little fella being used as a successor to the doomba..

Did I miss the line of gothic robots from iRobot? I'm envisioning lots of silver filigree on obsidian black with blood red accents.

Also, what does a doomba do? I'm guessing it only activates on rainy days and rolls around playing melancholy music over its speakers. Perhaps there's a razor model that can cut its users as they pet it while they recline on a black velvet fainting couch...

NFSW link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443057)

Sorry, I don't read sites called "Jizz Mag" at work.

Cost savings? (3, Interesting)

whydavid (2593831) | about 2 years ago | (#41443085)

If the robot came with an attached blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, and a few other things, it could also be applied to telemedicine. Since getting to the doctor's office is a huge challenge for many disabled folks, this could be a great opportunity. The telemedicine thing has and is currently being done, so this would really just be enhancing the robot with functionality that has already been prototyped, tested, and, in some cases, already deployed. If we're going to do this, let's go for the gold. Picking things up and enabling better communication is a great start, but becoming an all-around health companion and lifeline would take this to the next level and perhaps help it see uptake outside of robot-loving Japan.

Re:Cost savings? (2)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 years ago | (#41443357)

Yeah, good luck then trying to pass the FDA and similar obstacles on your way. Either it could never be advertised for that purpose or hundreds and hundreds of millions if not some billions would have to be spent proving that it's not a curling iron but a robot that can be used for some medical applications.

Re:Cost savings? (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#41445433)

FDA is a purely American problem. Solve it if you want, but the rest of the world doesn't have to consider it like an obstacle when innovating...

Re:Cost savings? (1)

whydavid (2593831) | about 2 years ago | (#41445917)

Telemedicine is already real, though still in its infancy. I'm not aware of any restrictions that say the remote monitoring device -- whether be a scale, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, etc... -- has to be stationary. In fact, all of the above are strictly measurement devices, and have no diagnostic value in a vacuum. Thus, I think the "not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent any disease" disclaimer applies. I'm not sure this would even fall under the FDA's jurisdiction in that case. We aren't talking about robot doctors or nurses...just taking existing functionality, already widely available, and packaging it in a more effective manner. Not that this guarantees smooth sailing, but it is not as dire a situation as you have painted. Whether or not any insurance company would reimburse the expense is another matter -- and one I think far more likely to tank the concept than getting approval to package the robot with devices that are already sold over-the-counter to consumers for use on themselves.

Re:Cost savings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443795)

I can't wait. Try attracting doctors to towns in northern Canada. You just can't. Keep moving the money slider up and up and they keep asking for more vacation.

Re:Cost savings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41447509)

There is a research from MIT that can use a simple video camera to take the pulse without touching the patient.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/amplifying-invisible-video-0622.html

Pick up things? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443153)

Can it pick up the control tablet if I drop it?

Re:Pick up things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443231)

Sure but the screen will be subsequently broken.

Forget helpful human support... (3, Funny)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41443207)

... if they develop an UNhelpful support robot, they can make a killing staffing call centers with it.

Re:Forget helpful human support... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41443413)

... if they develop an UNhelpful support robot, they can make a killing staffing call centers with it.

No need to develop, just license Siri. Done.

Re:Forget helpful human support... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41445913)

Paypal already implemented this 5 years ago.

Re:Forget helpful human support... (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41448451)

They did that years ago. It's named "IVRU [wikipedia.org] "

"Wear a Tablet Atop its Head???" (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41443255)

It can also wear a tablet atop its head, which would allow caregivers and family members to communicate with the robot's owner over Skype or other services.

Riiiight... 'cuz, you know, building in a webcam and LCD would just be... obtuse.

Re:"Wear a Tablet Atop its Head???" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443325)

Pinching pennies to shave off $200 on a robot that'll cost probably $10000+ is silly.

Re:"Wear a Tablet Atop its Head???" (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41443631)

Because that is better than the tablet, how?

Re:"Wear a Tablet Atop its Head???" (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41449257)

Because that is better than the tablet, how?

Meh, seems lazy.

If some hacker came up with this thing in his garage, I'd cut 'im some slack, but... Toyota doesn't have the engineering knowhow to embed a damn webcam/screen combo, so they duct-tape an iPad to the thing? Really?

I used to think that all those instances of "unintended acceleration" could be chalked up to user error, but after seeing this, I'm not so sure anymore...

Re:"Wear a Tablet Atop its Head???" (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41444139)

We had webcams and LCDs for about a decade before we had a video phone service that actually worked and that (more importantly) was widely adopted. Toyota is far from building these things in the numbers that would justify a special-purpose implementation of a functionality that already works (hardware+software) off the shelf.

Re:"Wear a Tablet Atop its Head???" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448903)

If they built in a webcam and LCD then we wouldn't be able to have robot death matches between the iPad and the Galaxy 10.1

The first question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443409)

Can you fuck it?

Toyota Clippy? (1)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | about 2 years ago | (#41443411)

It looks like you're trying to surf the internet. Would you like help?

1) Yes
2) No
3) Get me a beer
4) Google "Kill Clippy"
5) I saw what you did in front of the computer last night. Shame if your girlfriend were to find out

A step, a baby step. (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#41443481)

Hmm... My dogs do all of this. And they work on the farm too guarding and herding our livestock. Probably a lot cheaper and longer lived than this robot. Still, I guess robots must start somewhere.

Will it come with Genuine People Personalities? (1)

CityZen (464761) | about 2 years ago | (#41443507)

If not, they must not be Sirius.

Looks strangly familiar... (1)

Eddy_D (557002) | about 2 years ago | (#41443513)

Does it have a finger that lights up when it extends its "neck" ?

And so it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41443657)

The robots start taking over our jobs. My girlfriend of 10 years does exactly this: assisting the disabled at home with normal everyday tasks.

Now you can (1)

nagasrinivas (1700232) | about 2 years ago | (#41444763)

Remember those helpful reps who "Sir" you with a "Sorry but we can't". Now you can beat the crap out of them.

independently dependent (0)

drcheap (1897540) | about 2 years ago | (#41445405)

..."designed to help the disabled live more independently."

By making them depend on a robot?
Fail.

Re:independently dependent (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41450159)

By making them depend on a robot?

Better than being dependant on humans.

Embarrassing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41445787)

This is a Fools Folly.

Toyota need to focus on designing and producing automobiles that are economical, efficient and effective.

I see that Japan is indeed in deep trouble.

Obligatory (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41446207)

I can see these being really popular in Korea.

Another good story about these (3, Informative)

marcopo (646180) | about 2 years ago | (#41446605)

"The Caretaker", by Ken Liu, recently featured on escape pod [escapepod.org] is quite relevant.

Re:Another good story about these (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41447659)

The story - The Caretaker - was fabulous. Great surprise ending. Thanks for posting about it.

In Related News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41447153)

Toyota Veils Unhelpful Human Support Robot

Which is a lot more popular... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 2 years ago | (#41492891)

Than the unhelpful robot, which aparently just repeatedly tells you to fuck off

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