Robot could assist home living for people with limited mobility

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has developed a human support robot (HSR) prototype to assist independent home living for people with limited arm or leg mobility.

The prototype is said to be an addition to the Toyota Partner Robot series that TMC is developing to assist people in their everyday activities.

Operable by voice command or by tablet PC, the HSR is claimed to have a highly manoeuvrable, compact and lightweight cylindrical body with a folding arm that enables it to pick up objects off the floor, suck up thin objects, retrieve objects from high locations, open curtains and perform other household tasks.

TMC said in a statement that it developed the HSR prototype in co-operation with the Japan Service Dog Association to identify the needs and desires of individuals with limited limb mobility and developed functions focused around picking up dropped objects, retrieving items and communicating with family members and carers.

In 2011, TMC conducted in-home trials using the robot with individuals with limb disabilities in co-operation with the Foundation for Yokohama Rehabilitation Service and incorporated user feedback into development.

Additionally, in response to the ageing of Japan’s population, TMC will collaborate with research organisations such as universities as well as those involved in nursing and healthcare to research and develop new functions for the HSR — such as remote monitoring and assistance — with the aim of practical application in the field of care for the elderly.

TMC plans to display the HSR prototype at the Forefront of the Development of Home Care and Rehabilitation Equipment event at the 39th International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition 2012, which will be held at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on 26–28 September.

Main specifications of the HSR prototype

  • Body diameter: 370mm
  • Body height: 830–1,330mm (500mm extension range)
  • Weight: 32kg
  • Arm length: 775mm
  • Shoulder height: 506–1,006mm (500mm extension range)
  • Objects that can be held: 1.2kg or less, 130mm wide or less
  • Maximum speed: 3km/h
  • Mobility performance: level difference — 9mm; gradient — 5°

Source: TMC