Toyota has announced that its humanoid-size robot, the T-HR3, has been controlled successfully through a wireless connection. An improvement on previous generations, a wirelessly controlled T-HR3 is one step closer to people controlling human-size robots remotely.
A user controls a T-HR3 through the Master Maneuvering System (MMS), which according to Toyota “allows the entire body of the robot to be operated instinctively with wearable controls that map hand, arm and foot movements to the robot,” like something straight out of Gundam, Avatar, or Real Steel. Using a high-bandwidth 5G wireless connection, the pilot can control a robot from up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) away.
An operator of a T-HR3 steps into an MMS to control the robot. A head-mounted display lets the user see the robot’s perspective, and the robot sends the operator force feedback on what it’s experiencing in the real world. What the T-HR3 experiences, the operator will feel externally. The Torque Servo Module powers the robot through its core actions, giving flexible joint control and a wide range of motion to T-HR3’s 29 body parts.
Toyota frames the remote-controlled bot as being built for “support doctors, caregivers and patients, the elderly, and people with disabilities.” Though if each robot requires its own pilot, it’s unclear exactly what sort of benefit this system could have, unless the subject of care is extremely contagious or somehow radioactive.
There is, of course, the possibility of allowing these robots to move autonomously somewhere down the line. “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,” says Akifumi Tamaoki, general manager of Toyota’s Partner Robot division in a press statement.
That, or maybe just boxing.