Toyota takes wraps off new robots

Kyodo News

Toyota Motor Corp. showed off a violin-playing robot and a “mobility robot” Thursday, saying it will try to develop practical uses for human-helping partner robots in the early 2010s.

The automaker, which celebrated its 70th anniversary last month, is aiming to turn robots into one of its core businesses by 2020.

The violin-playing robot, which is even capable of eliciting a vibrato sound similar to that made by humans, was developed based on the idea of providing assistance with nursing and medical care, as well as household duties, Toyota said.

The robot, about 1.5 meters high and weighing 56 kg, is equipped with 17 joints in its hands and arms that allow it to perform delicate humanlike movements.

The single-seat mobility robot, Mobiro, which can travel 20 km on its battery after a one-hour charge, is designed to provide short-distance personal transport, Toyota said.