Toyota’s Robot Quartet Ends on a High Note – But it’s Just the Beginning

If you thought it wasn’t possible for robots to have soul, this video will likely change your mind. These four robots, Harry, Dave, Chuck and Ritchie, presented their composition on Mechatronics TV in 2011 to an enthusiastic audience. And so they should be – these advancements designed by Toyota mean the beginning of a new era for many facets of daily life.


In 2008, Toyota introduced their violin-playing robot. Although the music that sounded was not very complex, it showed that incredibly precise movements requiring precise strength of force can be performed by machines. While the human hand has 29 major joints in it, this robot’s hand has 17, which is leaps and bounds towards complete dexterity.


In 2011, Toyota released a robot that could play the trumpet, along with their other three robot band mates. What this incredible feat required was a re-creation of human lips that were able to make all the same shapes a human’s could. This ‘Partner Robot’ is aimed at assisting in the medical field, nursing and in everyday housework.


What this means for technology has less to do with the music or the instrument and more to do with the robot’s capabilities. The precision movements these ‘Partner Robots’ are capable of are essential for hospitals, work with the elderly, helping the disabled and even common tasks around the household. While the technology still has a ways to go before it is operational in real life setting, these robots may soon be helping walk those in wheelchairs, providing medication and, because of its exceptional weight, support standing or sitting for those who have trouble.


Toyota is not stopping anytime soon. They are designing a whole line of robotics that can assist the elderly disabled and the average person in a variety of ways. Toyota has stated in a press release that these robots are aimed at being available for commercial use sometime this year. They expect to have a fully functioning line of ‘Partner Robots’ in use by 2020.


Healthcare systems all across the world are under a tremendous amount of strain. It is hard to find a family doctor and the wait times for hospitals are enormous. A human requires years of training, and can be physically exhausted if they are worked too long. A robot can solve these issues. They are inexhaustible, provide an extra hand, take the load off the health care professionals and require no training, only programming. With the way things are moving, it won’t be long before these ‘Partner Robots’ are performing brain surgery in between folding the laundry.


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