How Toyota wants to simplify the lives of senior citizens with its robots

Robots are finding their way more and more into households. There, they are supposed to support cooking and daily processes. But the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has specialized these ideas a little and has now presented an innovative vision of the future – with a focus on the older population.


TRI Robotics Virtual Open House 360º (Source: Toyota Research Institute)


In their current product presentation, they show how a robot mounted on the ceiling can optimize the lives of house inhabitants without taking up space on the floor. With this, Toyota is approaching a megatrend and is launching a solution for the so-called Silver Agers. The household robots are designed to fit seamlessly into the home and perform daily household tasks without getting in the way of the residents. The aim is to provide assistance to elderly people at home and thus enable them to live in their own four walls for as long as possible.


“What if instead of needing a robot to navigate the cluttered floor, it could travel on the ceiling instead, and be tucked out of the way when it’s not needed? – Dan Helmick, Co-Lead “Robotics Fleet Learning” TRI


All the robots presented, both the ceiling robot and a “Soft Bubble Gripper” robot, with air-filled cushions on the grippers, should be able to perform all the tasks of daily life. TRI’s research also impressively shows how the robots can be trained by means of Virtual Reality to perform the tasks correctly. The users demonstrate a household task using VR and the robot interprets it – through machine learning – to be able to perform it in various other situations.

Soft Bubble Gripper (Source: Toyota Research Institute)


The focus on the elderly population is an important milestone for robotics, which has focused on care but little on simplifying daily life. Toyota and the TRI are taking a path in the right direction here – that of the Silver Ager.



Post picture: Toyota Research Institute

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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