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Toyota's Trumpet Playing Robot Showcased

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the dedication's-what-you-need dept.

Music 356

fsharp writes "The New York Times has an article discussing the first public showing of Toyota's new humanoid robot. During a demonstration, the biped robot played trumpet together with a rolling robot. Most telling about the article was the whole philosophy towards R&D: 'Toyota acknowledges that it is unlikely to turn a profit building robots anytime soon, but the program highlights its engineering-oriented culture and willingness to invest in projects that may not pay off for decades.' How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?"

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356 comments

But... (-1, Redundant)

Zardus (464755) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570177)

does it run Linux? :-)

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570241)

One can only hope. Would kind of suck having some form of Windows on it... one day poor Robot Jimmy gets a trojan and is instructed to impale someone with his trumpet. I suppose the same thing could happen with Linux though...!

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570352)

i'd take a beowulf cluster of impaling robots anyday..

Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570180)

NGSCB + SCO = Linux is dying.
F P !

Very cool, but.. (5, Interesting)

mr.henry (618818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570181)

It pisses me off that no American company today would ever do something like this. Our leaders have sold our technological infrastructure out for quick $$$. The boobs may have T-shirts -- made in China, no doubt -- that say "America is #1", but it hasn't been for a long time. Japan and the other Asian countries do all the cool stuff now. Come on, could you see Ford or GM doing this?

Re:Very cool, but.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570196)

There is something seriously wrong with your sense of 'cool'.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Funny)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570244)

There is something seriously wrong with your sense of 'cool'.

Robots aren't cool?! What are you, an American CEO?

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570235)

Well in all fairness, the US does have 2 autonomous robots exploring the surface of another planet. Though I agree a Trumpet playing robot would make a cooler party gimmick

Re:Very cool, but.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570256)

OOOHHH!!! BURRRRNNN!! ;-)

Re:Very cool, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570412)

Um, I don't think they're autonomous. We still have to tell whem what to do.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Interesting)

Brento (26177) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570250)

That kind of culture explains why Toyota was first to market with a profitable hybrid car, and why they're so far ahead that Ford's licensing hybrid technology from them.

Here's the missing link that doesn't get publicized: automakers are ahead of the curve on robots because they use robotics extensively in assembly. The more accurately their robots move, the more accurately they assemble cars. Next time you wonder why Japanese cars have a reputation for being so well-built, think of projects like these.

Re:Very cool, but.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570338)

Actually, Ford's licensing their technology because Toyota managed to get a broad enough patent that the stuff Ford came up with (on their own) fell under the patent. Maybe not all the technology, but the stuff I know of is.

However, Ford is also full of managers who are out to make a buck for the company today, rather than spend money now to ensure a solvent future. It is, I believe part of the reason why Toyota is "so far ahead," which they are.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570251)

"Come on, could you see Ford or GM doing this?"

I can see GM doing a robotic nose flute or kazoo.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Insightful)

lionchild (581331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570265)

Something to consider about Japan and their rise in technology, is that since the end of WWII, they haven't had a military to take up financing, (or resources, or R&D, etc..) thus leaving the government, and the culture as a whole, to focus on something else...like business and technology.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570446)

| Japan and their rise in technology, is that
| since the end of WWII, they haven't had a
| military to take up financing, (or resources, or
| R&D, etc..)

True, but the huge amount that the US spends on Military is largely by choice.

Is it really necessary to have sufficient armaments to destroy the planet seven times over? Is it really necessary to have sufficient firepower to independantly forcibly take over any other country/contitent on the planet?

And are these things more important than education, health care etc etc.

Every country sets its own agenda. The US wants to be the untouchable goliath of military power. If the US wanted to be the world leader in non-military research and development, they could be.

Re:Very cool, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570300)

For some reason the Japanese have been obsessed with the idea of a two legged robots, but I think wheels are more efficient.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570305)

It pisses me off that no American company today would ever do something like this.

That is because Wall Street is so concerned with short-term profits. Gasoline is at an all-time high while Toyota/Honda are the only companies that had the patience to develop a profitable solution [ljworld.com] to the problem. In 1997 when Toyota introduced the hybrid, they were losing lots of money on every unit sold. Now, they are selling that same technology to US-based companies [iht.com] .

Now, Ford isn't buying Toyota technology because it makes environmental sense. Rather, they are doing it because it makes sense for short-term profits - the same mindset that got them into this situation in the first place. This mentality will catch up to the US sooner or later. And where is solar energy?

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Insightful)

bwy (726112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570394)

Ford and GM don't have to innovate because the prices of Japanese cars are artifically high in the U.S. due to taxes on imports designed to "level the playing field."

We don't need to have all these tariffs on products imported from countries that have the same standard of living that we do. The Japanese work hard, yes, but they are paid first world salaries so if the prices of their automobiles is low, it is because they are damn good at building cars and if they want to work a little harder than us to do it, more power to them.

On the other hand cars imported from Mexico (like the VW I drive) are produced at the expense of some Mexican making 70 cents an hour. We can't have free trade in this scenerio or we'll all be living in cardboard lean-tos just like our counterparts south of the border.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Funny)

Belsical (238668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570420)

Come on, could you see Ford or GM doing this?

Sure, if you wanted the robot to play a half-tone flat for half an hour and then fall on its face...

Ben

Re:Look at IBM (5, Insightful)

kryocore (629960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570423)

IBM is a US company, who has invested billions into technology that is not in use. They were the 1rst company to arrange individual atoms (spelling IBM). They made a processor that uses atoms as transistors. They don't use any of it in production, but probably will some day. I think that you underestimate many US companies with your statement.

Re:Very cool, but.. (2, Interesting)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570427)

WTF???

Japan has a *lot* of cool consuer gadgets that we don't, but as far as technological superiortiy - we have some kick ass things ourselves:

Pills that can give you a four-hour bonner.
A day's worth of calories for $1 at McDonalds.
Internet-enabled vote rigging with new touch-pad voting machines.

all kidding aside, to this day nobody can touch the SR-71 Blackbird - and that fucker is OLD.

When the Japanese put one of their "trumpeting joy-bots" on the moon, I might be impreseed.

Re:Very cool, but.. (5, Informative)

Nakito (702386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570438)

It sounds as if it may be cool, but I wonder if these robotic lips are really as advanced as the article suggests, or if instead some kind of shortcut was taken. I was a music major and I played a brass instrument (french horn). Brass instruments do not have a reed or any other artificial source of vibrations. Instead, the performer's own lips are the source of the vibrations. The performer essentially generates a highly-controlled "raspberry" by constricting the muscles that surround the mouth and buzzing the lips while pressed against the mouthpiece (so the sound of a brass instrument is really just an amplified raspberry, artfully done). This is hard enough to do by itself, but it's made even harder by the fact that brass instruments embody the open harmonic series, which means that the peformer can play many notes without changing the valve settings just by adjusting the tension in the mouth (think of a bugle). One of the things that makes a brass player competent is the ability to hit the correct harmonic without cracking the note (also known as a "clam"). It's very hard to get it right consistently. If this robot is really doing all of this, plus pressing the valves, plus articulating the correct attacks and rhythm, and doing all of it well enough to play "Trumpeter's Holiday," I'm impressed!

FRENCH TOAST IN MY PANTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570183)

FROSTY IS THE WORD.

LIVE IT. LOVE IT. POST IT.

FROSTY IS MY SPECIALTY.

other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account. other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account. other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account. other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account. other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Lots of them are... (4, Insightful)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570187)

...it's called R&D. What won't make money today, will be "necessity" tomorrow, and then that's when you get people to pay.

Furthermore, even if the technology itself doesn't automatically pan out (ie, humanoid robots), it may still have profitable applications in other areas (ie, prosthetics).

Re:Lots of them are... (4, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570333)

"it may still have profitable applications in other areas (ie, prosthetics)."

YES! At last I will be able to get new artificial lips and be able to play the trumpet again!
--

Re:Lots of them are... (1)

zephc (225327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570440)

what about robots that play Blurnsball? Those could be quite profitable.

Alternative Article (5, Informative)

luxis (240935) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570191)

Re:Alternative Article (5, Funny)

Begossi (652163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570294)

"Artificial lips as subtle as human lips
The 35kg as yet unnamed robot has artificial lips which can alter their position as subtly as human lips as air is forced through them, enabling it to play a trumpet as it presses the stops with its hands."

Am I the only one wondering...

Boring ... ZZZzzzzzz..... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570195)

When are the goddamn SexBots going to be released?! My lifeless real doll ain't cutting it!

Re:Boring ... ZZZzzzzzz..... (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570282)

"When are the goddamn SexBots going to be released?"

I'm still beta testing them.

Re:Boring ... ZZZzzzzzz..... (1)

Visaris (553352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570389)

You have a real doll from http://www.realdoll.com/ ? Damn! I want one! Those are hella expensive..

One answer. (4, Insightful)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570203)

"How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?"

The kind that is already doing very well financially and wants to solidify a reputation of innovation. Similar to Microsoft's $1 billion donation to Africa.

Re:One answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570320)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

The kind that is already doing very well financially and wants to solidify a reputation of innovation. Similar to Microsoft's $1 billion donation to Africa.

He meant how many non-illegal-monopolistic companies...

An objective reply. (1)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570415)

1) Non-illegal-monopolistic is not a word. I don't think any double-hyphened English word even exists, not to mention something you made up out of a fit of anti-Microsoft rage.

2) Microsoft is not illegal. 3) Microsoft is monopolistic, I'll agree.

A heckler from the 18th Century (4, Interesting)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570208)

Presenters of the music-playing machine found themselves being unmercifully heckled by a man calling himself Mssr. Jacques de Vaucanson, who proclaimed loudly that he had accomplished robotic music more than two hundred years prior to this demonstration.

When the presenters pointed out that Mssr. Vaucanson would have to be long dead as of this late date, the suddenly horrified heckler collapsed into a pile of dust, and the remainder of the presentation was conducted without further interruption.

Smart Move (2, Interesting)

LordDax (703437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570213)

Why not invest in the technology now? In a few years someone will say, "Hey do you remember that thing we did a few years ago? Well i got a new idea for it" Its far easier to create something out of something than trying to create it out of nothing. Look at Big Billy. He created an empire out of a program Xerox was about to discard. A robot that can play music is one step closer to creating a robot that can do abstraction. Imagine the possiblities...not to mention the future military application....::strokes chin::

Re:Smart Move (2, Funny)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570348)

Well as long as they don't turn the seti client into Skynet we'll be alright

Re:Smart Move (1)

LordDax (703437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570422)

The dangers of AI rearing its head? Artifical Intelligence is my field of study and I found that the best way to combat the dangers is to let it be AI. Artifical. Fake. A mimic. The truly best AI would be the one guided by a linked real life intelligence. Think of the possibilites of true biocomupting. Throw in nanotechnology and machines...maybe you can become Helios...

Re:Smart Move (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570439)

magine the possiblities...not to mention the future military application...

An army of robot musicians playing polka gives me the creeps...

Long-term investing (5, Insightful)

BillFarber (641417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570214)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?"

How about most drug companies.

Re:Long-term investing (4, Interesting)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570342)

But of course if a drug company spends 7 years developing a drug and starts trying to recoup some of that cost over the next few years everyone will forget the R&D and point out how the drug costs nothing to make and so the company is ripping everyone off. When I worked at a pharmaceutical company there were cases when it took so long to develop a drug that it wasn't worth bringing it to market because the patent would almost have expired by time it was ready for release. (The patent needs to be filed right at the beginning of the testing process.)

Re:Long-term investing (1)

Akai (11434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570393)

drug companies turn a profit almost instantly thanks to insanely inflated retail pricing, combined with the fact they they control health care policy in the US Gov'ment

Our end is near... (5, Funny)

Gunsmithy (554829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570215)

...dear god, think of the possibilities. A robot with the ability to play a trumpet constantly...endlessly. The annoyance will be legendary.

Re:Our end is near... (4, Funny)

tuffy (10202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570343)

The annoyance will be legendary.

I hear the bagpipe playing robot is still in development.

Re:Our end is near... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570383)

"I'm sorry, but that funny comment is currently locked by another user." :^P

Re:Our end is near... (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570444)

Posted at the exact same minute, even. I think I share a brain with AndroidCat.

Re:Our end is near... (1)

br0ck (237309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570396)

Maybe they could make it less annoying using some kind of learning AI. They could put it on the street and then select for melodies that add coins to the hat and remove sequences that get the robot kicked or beaten. Of course, around here the bums keep misplaying the same damn tunes year after year regardless of the outcome.

what we're all wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570217)

sure it blows, but does it suck?

General Electric makes a robot that does percussio (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570231)

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so the following is an attempt to explain those hazards in layman's terms:

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whites, when in fact the rate of infection among heterosexual whites is
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TOTAL current infection rate, not the RELATIVE. So while there are more
cases each year, the RATE of infection is dropping quickly. Except for the
gay/nigger communities, where it's skyrocketing.

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Hmmm, flexible humanoid lips? (5, Funny)

jakedata (585566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570242)

I for one can see several applications that might directly appeal to this crowd.

Do it like Fark (4, Funny)

Tenfish (748408) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570249)

Good News! Toyota announces a robot that can play the trumpet!

Still working on the cure for the common cold, world peace, and an end to poverty.

Companies... (1)

morganjharvey (638479) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570257)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

I don't know... quakka.com sure comes to mind though. ;)

Japanese still technology leaders (1)

Supp0rtLinux (594509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570285)

I like that Toyota acknowleges they aren't likely to make any money off this technology right away. But at least its a step forward. Even Britney Spears, in her 2 hour special on E! last night, acknowleged after her trip to Japan that they are so far more advanced technologically, this from someone that's about as technical as a hair dryer (not that anyone likes her for her brains).

Careful there. (1)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570363)

I think you mean they rely on and use technology more (cue self flushing toilets) than America does, not necessarily that they're that much more advanced. However, I do agree that they would more rather put in a few dollars towards research and innovation than American companies, who would just as easily spend those few dollars on a more aggressive marketing campaign.

But don't take anything Britney Spears says for face value - especially if it involves politics of any sort. You know it's actually the work of a team of scriptwriters that can compete with W's.

Lots of companies support crazy R&D (2, Informative)

Ephboy (761440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570286)

In addition to Toyota's trumpet player, both Sony and Honda have developed robots that run/dance/etc., that they have no hope of immediately recooping the expenses on. And look at the DARPA Grand Challenge that happened this weekend, several of the teams were run directly or indirectly through tech companies (and you can be sure they weren't in it for the $1M). Even the non-corporate teams received tons of donations of equipment, sensors, vehicles, etc to support the crazy dream of driverless car in the desert.

Re:Lots of companies support crazy R&D (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570445)

As far as I know, neither the Sony nor the Honda robots can run, even on flat terrain.

If someone has a report of a legged robot that can run on rough terrain, I need to know about it.

90's (1)

glenrm (640773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570288)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?
Went out of style in the 90's.

sound clips? (4, Interesting)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570290)

I am a trumpet player and I really want to hear this thing!

Imagine if typing was so challenging that you spent 90% of your computer time refining and keeping your typing skills adequate, so you could spend 10% of the time programming...

Anyone have any sound clips?

if (time == money).... (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570295)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?
Based on the number of companies paying for a SCO license, that would be what? Around 5?
On the more serious side, if time does equal money, then many companies do this, both big and small. And based on my experience with small companies(20 employees) you have a lot of employees dropping their own "time" learning new technologies so that the company can remain competive and/or ahead of the technology curve. Yes there has been a lot of cost cutting which resulting in a lot of "wouldn't it be cool if..." projects being cut, but to those companies that pursue the "cool" projects go the spoils.

Those who sponsor the MIT Media Lab... (3, Interesting)

ClockChaos (758432) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570296)

"How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?" Check out the MIT Media Lab's list of sponsors: http://www.media.mit.edu/sponsors/sponsors.html Many of these companies have been giving money for years. All so crazy grad students (and profs) can go out and try the "what-ifs" without the companies worrying about reputations being on the line. ;)

I for one...... (4, Funny)

Akai (11434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570299)

Welcome our new, jazzier, robot overlords....

(sorry someone had to)

Drug companies, Auto makers, High tech... (2, Interesting)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570303)

Drug companies invest hundreds of millions into researching new medications that may never make it to market. The ones that do take years to research and develop, then they spend many more years testing and then they have to wait for FDA approval.

U.S. auto makers have been testing and developing electric cars for decades. None have ever made a profit from them.

Millions were spent by our government and by companies in researching some far out idea to network computers across the country. That took decades to start paying off.

There are more, but I'll let you post them...

It would... (4, Interesting)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570304)

It would behoove many companies to invest more in R&D and less in padding executives pocketbooks with $100's. HP, for example, has gutted their engineering ranks while simultaneously buying jets for the higher-ups. Closer to my region of the country, Caterpillar has outsourced waves of R&D people...and their executives are getting ever-higher bonuses.

Playing Trumpets vs. Driving Cars (1)

mr_majestyk (671595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570313)

So, why is it the Japanese are investing in truly useful projects like trumpet-playing robots, while the US is still tripping over itself trying to develop cars [slashdot.org] that drive themselves across the desert?

can't afford not to. (1)

sniggly (216454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570314)

The thing is as a car manufacturer you can't really afford NOT to invest in it, can't afford not to have any of the related patents. Automobility is strongly related to robotics and for those that will have the knowhow and the patents this is going to pay off huge. Japan is ahead of the rest of the pack in showing off cute models but a good bet is that the rest of them are not sitting on their hands either.

How many companies? (1)

thdexter (239625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570317)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?"

Apparently Toyota. Also, Microsoft's Home and Entertainment division lost, what, $34 billion in the past few years?...

which companies? (4, Interesting)

slide-rule (153968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570329)

> How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?"

Aerospace, for one. Working at one of the companies that makes commercial (and military) aircraft engines, it is jokingly quoted that: "A decision to launch a new engine program is a calculated risk to go into the hole for about 20 years" (Meaning it takes about that long to "turn profit" off all the years of design, development, testing, and certication processes.) Imagine how many times the market flops around responding to other market pressures in that length of time.

As an interesting aside for many of you, aircraft engines have historically been sold on the razor/blades business model, so its an interesting business balance between a quality engine that airline customers will buy and the need to sell spares to eventually make money on FAR down the road.

Underpants (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570341)

Hmmm....
1) Build trumpet playing robot
2) ?????
3) Profit

How do you save a drowning Nigger? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570344)

Take your foot off his head.

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570354)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

Well, there's Pfizer, and Glaxo, and Daimler-Benz, and Lockheed, and Motorola, and...

To answer the question... (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570355)


How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

GE [boston.com] for one.

The Real Question (-1, Troll)

enkafan (604078) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570357)

Meh, call me when someone invents a robot that can play the skin flute.

Man, I feel dirty just writing that. Not as dirty as a robot humper, but still pretty dirty.

Why automotive companies? (2, Insightful)

rtphokie (518490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570362)

Seriously. Why are these things coming out of automotive companies? First Honda and now Toyota. What do they plan to do with these technologies? Spin off a company to manufacture and market them? License the intellecual property? They certainly aren't dumping money into these projects for the fun of it. Technology for technology's sake exists only on university campuses and hobbiest garages.

spin (1)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570364)

The meta-information on the word document they sent out had a slightly different flavor:

At Toyota, we're R&Ding a robot to walk and play trumpet because Honda has been R&Ding asimo for YEARS and we don't wanna look like we're not paying attention. (We also don't want to be too far behind when Honda releases a car with legs instead of wheels)

ROBOfest (1)

Phoe6 (705194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570371)

As one of my friend described it in Hexadecimals [yahoo.com] ,there is this whole ROBOfest around.
You got this (yet to be named) Toyota Robot [yahoo.com] Playing trumpet. The actual song in the the web is not avaiable claiming that it is not disclosed under copyright.
Sony's QRIO [sony.net] is yet another Human friendly Robo and heard that this performed a Orchestra [yahoo.com] . as well.
Now there has always been a Robot Hall of Fame at CMU. [yahoo.com]

not turning a profit... (2, Funny)

MouseR (3264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570376)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

Judging from the Windows market share, I'd say a lot.

Many companies... (2, Interesting)

kryocore (629960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570382)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

IBM for example, holds the record for the last few years in patents. They made a processor where atoms funtion as transistors, the smallest form ever. Will they use this in the next 10 years? maybe, but probably not. But when it is used, they will make a lot of money on it and be consulted 1rst most likely.

Too much money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8570398)

How many companies these days are willing to drop money into some technology that may not turn a profit for many years?

Obviously companies that have too much spare cash. No wonder their cars are too damn expensive.

This ain't no robot (2, Insightful)

nicephore (762440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570409)

There's one problem with this story: the author doesn't give any evidence that this is a real robot. A robot, by definition, can perform tasks autonomously. This machine was probably programmed to go out on stage and start blowing into the trumpet. Likewise, it doesn't "play" the trumpet. It merely pushes air into the trumpet according to what the code tells it to do. The day that Toyota designs a machine that hits a wrong note is the day that it built a real robot.

US Army Needs This Robot (3, Interesting)

glassware (195317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8570436)

As I recall, the US Army was suffering from a shortage of bugle players to play taps for the passing generation of soldiers. They developed a digital bugle [geek.com] that can play taps even if the bugler is incompetent, drunk, or both.

Since Toyota has now developed a vastly more complicated technology that can be used to solve the same problem as the slightly complicated one above, I look forward to future Pentagon procurement hearings.

Note to self: Sarcasm in this post often results in massive retribution.
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