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HRP-4 Hides It All Somewhere

HRP-4 is a full-size humanoid that manages to do all kinds of humanoid-y stuff without the bulk

1 min read
HRP-4 Hides It All Somewhere

Kawada Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (ASIT) have just unveiled the latest edition of their family of humanoid robots, the HRP-4. HRP-4 is designed “in the image of a lean but well-muscled track-and-field athlete,” and it certainly is pretty damn lean…

At 5 feet tall it only weighs 86 pounds, and it boasts increased flexibility of its 34 joints over its predecessors. Despite its apparent lack of big fat heavy stuff like powerful motors, computers, and batteries, it has no trouble doing all of the important android basics:

HRP-4 is designed to aid in the development of robots that could replace humans in simple manual labor, specifically to address Japan’s impending labor shortage (due to an aging population and low birthrate). While I’m all for androids, when it comes to manual labor and repetitive tasks the human form (while adaptable) is not necessarily optimal, and I have to wonder whether it really makes sense to use humans as a research model in that respect.

HRP-4 will be available in 2011 for about $305,000.

Via [ Physorg ] and [ Pink Tentacle ]

The Conversation (0)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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