Toyota T-HR3 Humanoid Uses VR to Mimic Humans

Toyota’s third-generation humanoid robot, the T-HR3, uses a force feedback-enabled control system, an HTC Vive VR headset, "data glove" and torque servos to mimic the movements of a human user.

Toyota has been working on humanoid robots for years, and today it unveiled the third-generation T-HR3 that uses virtual reality (VR) to remotely control the robot.

The T-HR3 features a “Master Maneuvering System” that uses a force feedback, an HTC Vive VR headset, “data glove” and torque servos. This not only helps the robot mimic the human user’s movements in real time, but it uses the VR headset to show the user exactly what the robot sees.

Toyota says the T-HR3 has a total of 16 controls that command 29 individual robot body parts, making for “a smooth, synchronized user experience.” The T-HR3 stands 5 feet, 1 inches and weighs 165 pounds.

According to Toyota’s Partner Robot Division, which built the robot, the T-HR3 was developed to explore the possibility of assisting humans in the home, medical facilities, construction sites, disaster areas, and even in space.

Human operators can move the T-HR3 forward or laterally by walking in place. Toyota says the T-HR3 also has balance control to avoid falling down if it bumps into something.

Toyota T-HR3 Humanoid Robot

“The Partner Robot team members are committed to using the technology in T-HR3 to develop friendly and helpful robots that coexist with humans and assist them in their daily lives,” said Akifumi Tamaoki, general manager of Toyota’s robots. “Looking ahead, the core technologies developed for this platform will help inform and advance future development of robots to provide ever-better mobility for all.”

T-HR3 will be shown at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo from November 29th to December 2nd.

Force feedback from the T-HR3’s 10-fingered hands ensure precise control of objects by the remote operator.

Of course, Boston Dynamics is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to humanoid robots. The video below of Atlas doing box jumps and a backflip has taken the Internet by storm with more than 10 million views. And, perhaps, it’s a good reminder of why Toyota was reportedly in talks last year to acquire Boston Dynamics, which was eventually scooped up by Softbank.

Toyota says the T-HR3 “represents an evolution from previous generation instrument-playing humanoid robots, which were created to test the precise positioning of joints and pre-programmed movements.” The photo below is a look at those aforementioned humanoids.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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