The sad reality is that the world’s population is quickly aging. By 2050, the World Health Organization predicts 22 percent of the global population will be over 60 years old. The situation is even more dramatic in Japan, where the government estimates that by 2060, nearly 40 percent of the country’s population will be aged 65 or over.
This means more and more people will require long-term-care workers. Toyota believes it has found the answer for the ever-increasing demand for long-term elderly care. It’s called the Human Support Robot (HSR) and is designed to pick objects up off the floor, retrieve objects from shelves, and perform a variety of other tasks.
Featuring a highly maneuverable, compact, and lightweight cylindrical body and folding arm, the robot will be able in the near future to assist independent home living for the elderly and disabled.
In addition to local, on-site operation, the HSR can be operated remotely by family and friends, with the operator’s face and voice being relayed in real-time. It can’t be compared to the actual person being there for the one in need, but it’s better than no human interaction at all.
First announced in 2012, the HSR has been consistently improved based on feedback from patients and healthcare workers. To help speed up development, Toyota will loan HSRs to partner organizations in Japan (mainly universities, research facilities, and businesses), who will share their software development progress and newly gained know-how throughout the community.
The new Human Support Robot will be exhibited at the Yokohama Human & Technoland exhibition at Pacifico Yokohama from July 24 to 25, and at the Annual Conference of the Robotics Society of Japan at Tokyo Denki University from September 3 to 5.
You can find out what the robot is capable of doing by watching the official videos posted below.