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Watch: First, robots could mimic you. Now, you can inhabit them

How to control a robot by becoming one. Sort of.


That T-HR3, the third generation of Toyota’s Partner Robot Division’s humanoid robots, can perfectly imitate and mirror the movements of people is not a surprise. After all, human-like robots are becoming more ubiquitous by the day, as products like Boston Dynamics’ athletic humanoid, for instance, are showing us.

But now, a human can inhabit a robot – so that when the person moves, so does the robot, as the video above shows. You move your arm, the robots moves its arm. And so on.

The robot’s body is subject to a Master Manoeuvring System (MMS) that allows the robot to be directed by a human with wearable controls that map the operator’s movements. The MMS consists of 16 torque servo modules in the chair, with motion and force sensors at the feet, and 29 more torque servo modules that are located in the robot’s joints.

The entire system also equips operators with an HTC Vive Virtual Reality (VR) headset that is linked to cameras to show the robot’s perspective in complete 3D. So the human operator can effectively see the full point-of-view of the robot as they manoeuvre it.

So far, the robot can be moved forward or sideways by making walking movements, and has balance control to help it remain upright. It can also, as seen in the video above, pick up objects and exert force accordingly.

The Partner Robot team developed T-HR3 to explore the possibilities of assisting humans at home, in medical facilities, construction sites, and disaster-struck areas, and even in outer space, according to Toyota.

The only important question: Can this robot do backflips if you can?

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.