Toyota Unveils Personal-Transport, Violin-Playing Robots To Help Take Over The World

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

Toyota unveiled today two new robots, a "Mobility Robot" and a "Violin-playing Robot" — the newest additions to its team of Toyota "Partner Robots" being developed to support people's everyday life. The mobility robot, designed around the i-Real concept shown in Tokyo earlier this year (see the Toyota folks giving us a demo of the i-Real chair-concept-thing in Tokyo here) is a robot for the "aged." The 'bot's supposedly capable of autonomous movement over uneven ground and around obstacles and has a traveling range of 12 miles per charge and a top speed of 3.7 mph. We'll have more pictures up shortly, but for the moment, here's a bit of sexy violins by way of the 17 joints in the robots hands and arms — because pics are all you're getting as the super number one best automaker from the land of the rising sun's not expected to have these bad boys any time before 2010. Full press release after the jump. UPDATE: Pictures added below!

Toyota Unveils Personal-transport, Violin-playing Robots

Tokyo — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) unveiled today two new robots, a "Mobility Robot" and a "Violin-playing Robot"—the newest additions to its Toyota Partner Robots being developed to support people's everyday life.

The mobility robot, which is capable of autonomous movement over uneven ground and around obstacles, provides transport in places where people usually walk; the violin-playing robot, equipped with a total of 17 joints in both of its hands and arms, uses precise control and coordination to achieve human-like dexterity.

Toyota Partner Robots are envisioned to assist people in four main fields: 1) domestic duties, 2) nursing and healthcare, 3) manufacturing and 4) short-distance personal transport. To this end, TMC's primary developmental focuses are on technology that works in harmony with people—such as that for assistance devices that can help move heavy instruments in a factory, on mobility technology for autonomous movement, on full-body coordination for walking and jumping and on tool manipulation. The two robots presented today represent advances along these lines, with the mobility robot demonstrating achievements in field 4) and the violin-playing robot demonstrating achievements in fields 1) and 2).

Also, TMC announced today that it aims to realize practical use of Toyota Partner Robots in the early 2010s by furthering its robotic development and strengthening collaboration among industry, government and academia.

TMC, to help make future society healthy and comfortable, is pursuing sustainability in research and development, manufacturing and social contribution as part of its "three sustainabilities" concept. Toyota Partner Robot development, which involves TMC's approach to making things—including its mobility, production and other technologies—is being carried out with this concept in mind and has thus far resulted in the various entertainment robots presented at the Toyota Group Pavilion during the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, as well as in a tour-guide robot that began operation earlier this year at the Toyota Kaikan Exhibition Hall at TMC headquarters in Toyota City, also in Aichi Prefecture.

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And uh, I don't think the Suzuki method has anything to do with Suzuki the vehicle manufacturer...


"The 'nurture' involved in the movement is modeled on some of the factors present in native language acquisition, such as immersion, encouragement, small steps, and an unforced timetable for learning material based on each person's developmental readiness to imitate examples, internalize principles, and contribute novel ideas. The term "Suzuki method" is also sometimes used to refer solely to the Suzuki repertoire of sheet music books and/or audio recordings which have been published as part of its music education method."

Little kids just play badly because they're little kids, not because of the Suzuki method. And people ooh and aah because they're not a-holes who make fun of little kids =p