This “Butler Robot” Is Designed to Help the Elderly

published Oct 30, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of TRI

By the year 2050, an estimated 1.5 billion people in the world will be over the age of 65. To aid the aging population, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) designed a “butler robot” to help out with daily chores and activities that may be more difficult for those suffering from compromised physical and/or mental abilities—these guys are basically like Rosey the Robot from “The Jetsons” come to life.

TRI decided to use developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance human life and ability instead of replacing it—an approach they’re calling intelligence amplification (IA). The goal of IA and butler robots is to help the aging population live independently for longer and be able to spend more time with their loved ones.

Credit: Courtesy of TRI

The Institute developed three new robots that were designed with IA at the forefront. The first is the “Gantry,” which hangs from the ceiling and completes tasks like loading the dishwasher and putting kitchen items away, the “soft bubble gripper” robot that uses soft contact within an indoor environment and is useful for handling ceramics, glass, and fragile objects, and a floor-based robot that does the same activities at the Gantry but can move about the home.

“TRI robotics research is focused on the home because it is in that environment that robots can provide the greatest assistance in achieving human fulfillment,” Max Bajracharya, vice president of robotics at TRI, told DesignBoom. “It is also one of the most complex environments for robots to master. Our work is focused on two key challenges: teaching robots from human behavior and using simulation to both train and validate robot behaviors.”

Being able to enjoy retirement to its fullest without having to sweat the basics can make one’s later years much more comfortable and easy to manage. It’s safe to assume that a butler robot would be a welcome addition to any household.