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Toyota unveils upgraded version of its humanoid robot

In this Dec. 18, 2019, photo, Toyota Motor Corp.’s human-shaped T-HR3 robot, right, is remotely controlled by a staff member, left, during a demonstration in Tokyo on Dec. 18, 2019. (Associated Press)
In this Dec. 18, 2019, photo, Toyota Motor Corp.’s human-shaped T-HR3 robot, right, is remotely controlled by a staff member, left, during a demonstration in Tokyo on Dec. 18, 2019. (Associated Press)
By Yuri Kageyama Associated Press

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. recently unveiled an upgraded version of its human-shaped T-HR3 robot. The robot, which is controlled remotely by a person wearing a headset and wiring on his or her arms and hands, now has faster and smoother finger movements because the controlling device is lighter and easier to use.

Such a robot could, in the future, be used to perform surgery in a distant place where a doctor cannot travel. It also might allow people to feel like they’re participating in events they can’t actually attend.

In a recent demonstration in Tokyo, a person wearing a headset and wiring made the robot move in exactly the same way he was moving, waving or making dancelike movements.

Smaller robots that look like the mascots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were controlled in the same way.

Toyota engineer Tomohisa Moridaira said human-shaped robots can be controlled intuitively because all the person operating it has to do is move naturally.

The challenge still lies in securing reliable and speedy telecommunications connections so that signals are accurately relayed from the human to the robot, Moridaira said.

The robots were connected by local networks in the demonstrations.

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