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Why is Toyota Developing Humanoid Robots?


Have you ever heard of T-HR3?First launched by Toyota in 2017, it's a humanoid robot capable of flexible movements that mirror the actions of its remote human operator, and of sharing the force exerted by and on the robot with the operator using force feedback.The new and improved T-HR3, which the company will demonstrate at the 2019 International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo, is now able to execute more difficult tasks than before, including walking in a more natural manner.What new robotics functions did the development team achieve, and what kind of future does Toyota hope to realize with this research? One lucky Toyota PR team member met with T-HR3 Development Team Leader Tomohisa Moridaira to find out.

Scientists Create Living Human Skin for Biohybrid Robots


Scientists from Japan have created living human skin that will help in the creation of biohybrid robots, which are made of both living and artificial materials. The method was presented on June 9 in the journal Matter. The team was able to give a robotic finger a skin-like texture, as well as water-repellent and self-healing functions. Shoji Takeuchi is a professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan. "The finger looks slightly'sweaty' straight out of the culture medium," Takeuchi says.

How AI Is Changing The Way We Work - AI Summary


So, while AI might change how humans work, the reality is it's unlikely to replace most jobs entirely. Dr Samer Al Moubayed, chief executive at Furhat Robotics, a conversational-AI social robotics startup that builds tech designed to interact with humans in a natural, fluid way, has overseen the conception of the firm's namesake robot that can speak, show emotions and maintain eye contact. The past few years have seen Moubayed work with the likes of human resources company Tengai to develop a robot that autonomously performs job interviews, scores the interview according to an established framework and summarises the output for a human recruiter. Moubayed is firm in his belief that such AI investments can support humans in their day-to-day jobs, working in harmony with the workforce instead of against it. As ad execs everywhere from Tokyo to Toronto shifted to remote working at the outset of 2020, Marcel hosted an internal job mobility platform that allowed people to change agencies, move to different markets and stretch their skillset.

Scientists craft living human skin for robots


"The finger looks slightly'sweaty' straight out of the culture medium," says first author Shoji Takeuchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan. "Since the finger is driven by an electric motor, it is also interesting to hear the clicking sounds of the motor in harmony with a finger that looks just like a real one." Looking "real" like a human is one of the top priorities for humanoid robots that are often tasked to interact with humans in healthcare and service industries. A human-like appearance can improve communication efficiency and evoke likability. While current silicone skin made for robots can mimic human appearance, it falls short when it comes to delicate textures like wrinkles and lacks skin-specific functions.

Scientists create living human skin for robots that can stretch, repel water and even 'heal' itself

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Science fiction has just taken one step closer to reality, as scientists have managed to create a living'sweaty' skin for humanoid robots. The material, developed by scientists at the University of Tokyo, not only has a skin-like texture but can also repel water and'heal' itself with a collagen plaster. The method for its creation was published today in journal Matter, and involves dipping a robot finger into a solution of collagen and human dermal fibroblasts - the two main components that make up the connective tissue in human skin. Lead author Shoji Takeuchi said: 'The finger looks slightly "sweaty" straight out of the culture medium. 'Since the finger is driven by an electric motor, it is also interesting to hear the clicking sounds of the motor in harmony with a finger that looks just like a real one.

Scientists covered a robot finger in living human skin

New Scientist

Robots can now be covered in living skin grown from real human cells to make them look more like us. As robots increasingly take on roles as nurses, care workers, teachers and other jobs that involve close personal contact, it is important to make them look more human so we feel comfortable interacting with them, says Shoji Takeuchi at the University of Tokyo in Japan. At the moment, robots are sometimes coated in silicone rubber to give them a fleshy appearance, but the rubber lacks the texture of human skin, he says. To make more realistic-looking skin, Takeuchi and his colleagues bathed a plastic robot finger in a soup of collagen and human skin cells called fibroblasts for three days. The collagen and fibroblasts adhered to the finger and formed a layer similar to the dermis, which is the second-from-top layer of human skin. Next, they gently poured other human skin cells called keratinocytes onto the finger to recreate the upper layer of human skin, called the epidermis.

Valeo says next-gen lidar can enable Level 4


A recent Valeo test vehicle in Tokyo demonstrated how Scala lidars and a front camera, combined with vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, could autonomously steer through crowded boulevards, thread between lumbering trucks and zipping passenger vehicles, while navigating pedestrians. The system is Level 4-capable but operates in Level 2 mode during public testing, with a Valeo engineer always at the ready to take control. The self-driving system had its faltering moments, usually while negotiating scenarios that require bending traffic rules -- such as leaving a lane to go around idling trucks or bicyclists. And the steering and braking aren't always as smooth as would be done with a human touch. Valeo engineers say that coming versions will better address such borderline scenarios.

Tokyo's Yamanote Line to test automated trains with passengers from October

The Japan Times

East Japan Railway Co. said Tuesday it will carry out test runs of automated trains with passengers aboard on Tokyo's Yamanote Line for two months starting around October. JR East has been testing the automated system on out-of-service trains on the line -- one of Tokyo's most congested -- since 2018, and the operator intends to implement the technology around 2028. Your browser's ad blocking or security software may be the cause. Please add / to your allowed sites to continue reading.

Amid Mounting Tensions With Russia Over Kuril Islands, Japan Rushes To Buy Drones

International Business Times

Despite the official policy of pacifism, which outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes, Japan is now looking to acquire attack drones for its arsenal. This comes amid Tokyo's increasing concerns over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its territorial disputes with Moscow over the Kuril Islands. Japanese defense officials are considering buying drones as they believe these rudimentary weapons are not only impactful but also "cost-effective and easy to deploy," reported South China Morning Post. "There is no doubt that reconnaissance and attack functionality using a multitude of low-cost'swarm drones' would be militarily advantageous," Yoshihide Yoshida, chief of staff of the Ground Self-Defence Forces, was quoted by the news outlet. Japan had already taken the first step in this regard when it began using U.S.-built drones to identify and track ships across the Pacific last year.

Japanese robot can peel bananas cleanly, most of the time

The Japan Times

Robots in Japan are found on factory floors carrying out simple tasks or delivering food to restaurant patrons but researchers have now unveiled a robot capable of executing the delicate task of peeling a banana without squashing the fruit inside. While the dual-armed machine is only successful 57% of the time, banana peeling points to a future where machines undertake more subtle operations than moving metal parts or delivering coffee. Video from researchers at the University of Tokyo showed the robot pick up and peel a banana with both hands in about three minutes. Researchers Heecheol Kim, Yoshiyuki Ohmura and Yasuo Kuniyoshi trained the robot using a "deep imitation learning" process where they demonstrated the banana-peeling action hundreds of times to produce sufficient data for the robot to learn the actions and replicate it. In this case, the banana reached its success rate after more than 13 hours of training.