The AP (12/6) reported that "Toyota's new robot plays a pretty solid 'Pomp and Circumstance' on the violin." The "five-foot-tall, all-white robot," was "shown Thursday, [and] used its mechanical fingers to press the strings correctly and bowed with its other arm, coordinating the movements well." Toyota Motor Corp. "has already shown robots that roll around [and] work as guides and have fingers dexterous enough to play the trumpet." According to Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe, "robotics will be a core business for the company in coming years." The company "will test out its robots at hospitals, Toyota-related facilities and other places starting next year," Watanabe said, adding that Toyota "hopes to put what it calls 'partner robots' to real use by 2010." He and other Toyota officials described robotics as "a natural extension of the automaker's use of robots in manufacturing, as well the development of technology for autos related to artificial intelligence, such as sensors and pre-crash safety systems." Toyota's president "presented a vision of the future in which wheelchair-like 'mobility robots'...would offer 'bed-to-bed' services to people, including the elderly and the sick, just like cars take people 'door-to-door.'"
The AFP (12/6) noted that Toyota's "new robots come three years after" the automaker unveiled its "trumpet-playing robot – [the company's] first humanoid machine -- in a bid to catch up with robot technology frontrunners such as Honda Motor Co. and Sony Corp." Robot makers "see big potential for their use in Japan, where the number of elderly people is rapidly growing, and causing labor shortages in a country that strictly controls immigration." The country's "most famous robot is arguably Asimo, an astronaut-looking humanoid developed by Honda which has been hired out as an office servant and has even popped up to offer toasts at Japanese diplomatic functions."
Snipped from ASEE's First Bell Custom Briefings