Just this week, the Japanese car company Toyota introduced an assistant robot that has been designed to help the elderly and the disabled. In Japan, a quickly rising life-expectancy and a reduction in the birth rate contribute to a skyrocketing average age. With not enough people to care for the elderly or the handicapped, products that help these people operate on their own are very popular.
Working in concert with the Japan Service Dog Association, Toyota designed this personal aide to be able to pick up and move small objects from the floor, from a table, or from hard to reach locations. The whole contraption weighs around 70 pounds and stands four feet tall. It sort of looks like a small trash can gone all Transformer. One arm with flexible joints and two fingers, along with a slow operating speed of about 1.8 MPH make it ideal for a home environment. While it still needs some work and refinement, it is good to see the engineers at Toyota expanding their horizons. Who knows what sort of technology they could come up with for Toyota vehicles while they work on this project?