Mobility robot and violin-playing robot

Robot can play violin now. Guess who teach him? The 5-foot-tall all-white robot, shown Thursday, used its mechanical fingers to press the strings correctly and bowed with its other arm, coordinating the movements well.

Toyota unveiled two new robots called the "mobility robot" and the "violin-playing robot," Japan's top automaker said it would step up research and development in the field, including by doubling the number of engineers to about 200 in around three years.

Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said robotics will be a core business for the company in coming years. Toyota will test out its robots at hospitals, Toyota-related facilities and other places starting next year, he said. And the company hopes to put what it calls "partner robots" to real use by 2010, he said.

"We want to create robots that are useful for people in everyday life," he told reporters at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo.

The Toyota Mobility Robot is meant to function in places where people usually walk, being a personal transportation vehicle. The main use, as Toyota states, of the Toyota Mobility Robot is to assist with short-distance personal transport.

It can negotiate steps with independent vertical movement of left and right wheels. It has a traveling range of 20 km on one hour of battery charge, has a top speed of 6km/h and is capable of traversing a 10-degree gradient.

Capable of following a person, allowing it to function as a porter and can avoid obstacles to reach its owner. The Toyota Mobility Robot is 1,000 mm high when at rest, 1,100 mm high in motion and weighs 150 kg.

In a demonstration of the new achievements, Toyota brought out the 152 cm (5 ft), two-legged violin-playing robot, which gave a brief performance - complete with vibrato sound - from Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" Marches, popular at graduation ceremonies in Japan.

Read news about Toyota aims to put robots to use early next decade



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