While we’re dreaming about science fiction
, Toyota Motor Corporation announced that it has developed a human support robot
(HSR) that is capable of not just picking up odds and ends around the house but can also actually perform tasks normally performed by human caregivers--that is to say, tasks that require the robot to actually touch people and help them with routine daily activities.
The announcement doesn’t get specific, but looking at the robot, one imagines that it could help people get in and out of chairs, retrieve objects just out of reach (a serious problem for someone who has a hard time reaching, say, an end table without losing his or her balance), or even assisting with meal consumption.
Those capabilities, coupled with the ability to control the robot with voice commands or via a tablet, can help the disabled or elderly maintain a higher quality of life for a greater length of time without requiring the assistance of a family member or paid caregiver.
The HSR measures 370mm in width, and with the arm retracted or fully extended, it has a height of 830-1,330mm (506-1006mm at the shoulder). It weighs 32kg, can lift objects weighing up to 1.2kg, and can get up a 9mm step or a 5-degree plane.