IoT Robotics: Toyota Motor’s third-generation humanoid robot

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IoT Robotics: Toyota Motor’s third-generation humanoid robot

Toyota Motor has revealed a new robot named T-HR3, which is billed as an evolution of a previous generation of instrument playing humanoid robots which were created to test the precise positioning of joints and replay of preprogrammed movements. T-HR3 is more practical and can safely assist humans in different settings: in the home, in medical facilities, on construction sites, in disaster areas – or even in 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. Looking ahead, the core technologies developed for this platform will help inform and advance future development of robots to provide ever-better mobility for all,” said Akifumi Tamaoki, general manager of the Partner Robot Division. T-HR3 is manipulated by an operator perched in the Master Maneuvering System and kitted out in a wearable control outfit that maps hand, arm, and foot movements to the robot, allowing the entire body of the robot to be operated instinctively. A head-mounted display, similar to a VR headset, allows the user to see from the robot’s perspective.

The system’s master arms give the operator full control of the robot’s corresponding joints, down to the fingertips, and the “master foot” allows the robot to be moved forward, back, or laterally by the stationary operator “walking in place” in the control chair. A self-interference prevention system ensures that the robot and user do not disrupt each other’s movements. Onboard T-HR3 motors, reduction gears, and torque sensors, developed in collaboration with Tamagawa Seiki and Nidec Copal Electronics, add precision to each joint’s movements. These modules translate the operator’s actions directly to the robot’s body parts from the Master Maneuvering System’s 16 control systems – the result is a smooth, synchronized user experience. The Torque Servo Module is the key to enabling T-HR3’s core capabilities:

  • Flexible joint control, to control the force of contact with individuals or objects in the environment
  • Whole-body coordination and balance control, to maintain balance after collisions
  • Remote maneuvering, to give users seamless and intuitive control over the robot

T-HR3 was first shown to the public in November at the International Robot Exhibition 2017.

Image Credit: Toyota Motor


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