Me and my VR robotic shadow: Toyota’s T-HR3 copies our movements, can even dab

Toyota has developed a new, third-generation humanoid robot called the T-HR3 that pairs with a virtual reality operating platform a human can use to have the robot mirror one’s movements. The company says the T-HR3 can help with tasks such as in-home care, at medical facilities, on construction sites, in disaster areas, and even in outer space.

The robot’s human overlord, if you will, controls it via a Master Maneuvering System. It comes equipped with 16 master control systems that communicate with the T-HR3’s 29 body parts via torque sensor modules that are connected to each joint, along with motors and reduction gears. The Master Maneuvering System features wearable controls that map hand, arm and foot movements to the robot, plus a head-mounted VR unit that allows the user to see from the robot’s perspective. The master arms can convey a full range of motion to the humanoid, while the foot housing allows the user to walk in place in the chair to move the robot forward or laterally. A Self-interface Prevention Technology embedded in the robot prevents it and the user from colliding or otherwise interfering with one another’s movements.

“The Partner Robot team members are committed to using the technology in T-HR3 to develop friendly and helpful robots that coexist with humans and assist them in their daily lives. Looking ahead, the core technologies developed for this platform will help inform and advance future development of robots to provide ever-better mobility for all,” said Akifumi Tamaoki, general manager, Partner Robot Division, in a statement.

The video Toyota released for the T-HR3 shows off some of the robot’s impressive flexibility and balance control, which makes us wonder whether these things might one day show up to lead yoga classes. In the meantime, the T-HR3 will be featured at the International Robot Exhibition 2017 in Tokyo starting Nov. 29.

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