WATCH: Toyota Research Institute presents robotic advancements for home assistance
MANILA: The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) welcomed journalists into its laboratory to demonstrate recent developments in robotics dedicated to supporting people in their households.
The main priority of TRI is to provide home-based assistance to handle the concerns of an aging population in consideration of their significant impact on the society, the economy, and the labor force.
TRI has high hopes that their research can offer alternatives to deal with these challenges through innovative human-assist robots that specifically aid aging or infirm individuals.
The Japanese concept of the Ikigai, a popular belief that the existence of every person should have a strong purpose and meaning, is the main driving force for the robotics research of TRI.
The human-centered strategy transforms the general artificial intelligence (AI) philosophy. Instead of the replacement of humans, the research of TRI utilizes AI to improve human ability, a strategy referred to as Intelligence Amplification (IA), wherein humans and machines work together to attain something that they cannot accomplish on their own.
TRI was able to make a considerable investment in simulation for the analysis of robot behavior and engineering. The dynamics of how a robot hand interacts with certain objects is challenging to simulate, so the modeling has not been utilized for robotic manipulation research.
To train a robot with a new behavior or improve its knowledge and capabilities, the simulation software of TRI offers a way to comprehend the performance of a robot without the need to physically accomplish all the tasks each time that modifications are made.
The simulation results are further validated on real kitchen sets in the TRI Cambridge laboratory.
The researchers in TRI utilize simulation tools that can similarly evolve robotic development even when there are limitations in the accessibility to testing and hardware facilities.
The TRI robotic manipulation team, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, concentrates on furthering previous studies into these challenges.
The TRI team is also exploring more unconventional concepts while taking into consideration robotic solutions in households.
One revolutionary idea is a “gantry robot” that will come down from an overhead framework to accomplish tasks like the removal of clutter, wiping of surfaces, and loading of the dishwasher.
As it passes the ceiling, the robot navigates the complexity of going through confined spaces and household floor clutter. If it is not being used, the robot would fold or curl up by itself.
To further study this specific concept, the team has established a laboratory prototype robot that can perform similar tasks as that of a floor-based mobile robot, but with the presence of an advanced overhead mobility system.
In another advancement, which is aimed at dealing with the needs for soft contact given the interaction of robots with indoor environments, TRI researchers have developed new soft grippers that contain high-density tactile sensing capacity.
The robotics charter of TRI is set to develop new robotics capacities for the brand to help address real-world challenges and help global communities. To establish a real-world effect, TRI works closely with other teams within the company.
One specific group is Toyota AI Ventures, which is the first corporate venture capital firm of Toyota that aggressively invests in early-phase startups.
Another team is TRI-AD, which will become the Woven Planet Holdings Group. Its main focus is taking on new skills from TRI and other areas of Toyota and with its partners, transforms them into product ideas.
The 360-degree presentation of the robotic research innovations of TRI can be viewed here.
Photos from Toyota