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Toyota Unveils Helpful Human Support Robot 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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Toyota Unveils Helpful Human Support Robot

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's where the real money would be.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Buy one of these, then get a fleshlight and some duct tape. Some assembly required.
    • by dunng808 (448849)

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

  • Is there a coffee maker attachment?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It would help society more if it actually killed them.

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

  • 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.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • If cheap enough, I could see this little fella being used as a successor to the doomba..
  • Cost savings? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whydavid (2593831) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:36PM (#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.
    • by udachny (2454394)

      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.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        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...
      • by whydavid (2593831)
        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 tal
  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:48PM (#41443207)

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

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      ... 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.

    • They did that years ago. It's named "IVRU [wikipedia.org]"
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:53PM (#41443255) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Because that is better than the tablet, how?

      • 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...

    • by timeOday (582209)
      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.
  • 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
  • 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.

  • If not, they must not be Sirius.

  • Does it have a finger that lights up when it extends its "neck" ?
  • Remember those helpful reps who "Sir" you with a "Sorry but we can't". Now you can beat the crap out of them.

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

    By making them depend on a robot?

  • I can see these being really popular in Korea.

  • by marcopo (646180) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:27AM (#41446605)
    "The Caretaker", by Ken Liu, recently featured on escape pod [escapepod.org] is quite relevant.
    • by Anonymous Coward

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

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

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra