The Wire-Type Partner Robot is unique to all of the others developed by Toyota, and humanoid robots in general, because it uses a system of wires to move and walk. All of the actuators for its arms and legs are located inside its chest, which pull tendon-like wires to move the limbs. This reduces the overall weight of the robot while also making its limbs much thinner compared to other bipedal walking robots.
Dressed in traditional obon, this robot is probably one of the most obvious throwbacks to some of Japan’s earliest automatons (known as karakuri ningyō), which performed at all levels of society from the emperor on down to the farmers, in a variety of settings. For its part, the Wire Type Robot performs the Awa Odori dance, which is performed during one of the largest dance festivals in Japan.
Though it was presented in the first batch of robots Toyota unveiled in 2003, the Wire Type robot never saw much action. Toyota is targeting wire-type actuation for a more practical use in wearable power assist technology, such as exoskeletons which might allow a nurse to lift a patient out of bed. Such a system will require the wire-type’s light weight and slim, form-fitting design. A couple videos and some media follows after the break.
- Toyota Partner Robots (official site EN/JP)
- Toyota (official press release EN)
- Toyota Partner Robot overview (EN)
Impress Robot Watch