Human Support Robots to Assist Wheelers at Tokyo Olympics
If you use a wheelchair and need help finding your seat or carrying a drink at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, there’s a chance that you’ll have a robot assisting you. Toyota will be deploying Human Support Robots at competition venues to provide assistance for wheelchair-using spectators while showcasing the technology’s potential for wider application in everyday life.
“Toyota hopes to provide ‘the freedom to move for everyone’ throughout the Games and has developed various mobility solutions, including robots. We believe that the robots will help spectators in wheelchairs to enjoy watching the events without any restrictions,” said Nobuhiko Koga, Chief Officer of Frontier Research Center at Toyota.
The HSR, the development of which was first announced in 2012, is designed to provide personal assistance for everyday tasks, including picking up objects off floors, retrieving items, and opening doors or window blinds. To do this, the cylindrical base uses a retractable arm with finely calibrated pincers that can grab items like clothes or a small water bottle, while a suction cup can retrieve thin items like a piece of paper. With an integrated display, cameras and microphones, the HSR also provides remote video connectivity. It can be controlled by the user via voice or tablet, or by a care provider remotely. In a year and a half, we might finally get a glimpse of whether it has advanced enough to provide real world assistance.